Understory

Understory at Redland Art Gallery's Red Box April-May 2021

Artwork statement

I live in the upper catchment of Kedron Brook, where water draws down from forested hills in veins connecting land and sea. I walk its banks, under lush canopies, inhaling its gentle expiration. My heart beat slows to match its rhythm, my senses open.

On such a walk, a large leaf fell at my feet, dispelling another layer of ‘plant blindness’. It was a Macaranga leaf, beautiful and heart shaped. I began to see Macarangas everywhere and learned they are pioneer rainforest trees, shading a community of more delicate plants. As I gathered fallen leaves, conversations opened. The trees were shading more than just plant communities as fresh connections grew in the understory.

Nature holds us, nurtures and heals us.

But the theme of this work began after my first visit to the Great Barrier Reef where I saw the damage of successive bleachings. Shocked and frightened, I have been trying to respond and act in small and larger ways. Big media won’t tell the understory, but we have all witnessed devastating fires and floods. Wherever we go, currents of eco-anxiety and grief flow close to the surface.

How can we nurture and heal this world that holds us?