Australian news, and some related international items

Art exhibition Black Mist Burnt Country explores consequences of Maralinga atomic bomb tests

Black Mist Burnt Country asks: what remains after the mushroom cloud? The Conversation,   Joanna Mendelssohn is a Friend of The Conversation. September 28, 2016 Two drawings by Judy Watson make sense of it all. Bomb Drawing 1 and Bomb Drawing 5 are small shadows of light ash on the pages of a sketchbook. They seem so fragile, so small, so empty. Yet their very stillness in what is an often crowded and confused display gives them a sense of authority.

Black Mist Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition devised to commemorate one of the great crimes against this country – the wilful poisoning of the land and its people by the British Government with the active collusion of the Australian Government. The full extent of the British experiments with atomic weapons on Australian soil took decades to be fully exposed.

The nuclear tests took place over a number of years – starting at Monte Bello in 1952, rolling on to Emu Field and then Maralinga 60 years ago – yet it was not until the 1980s that a Royal Commission headed by James McClelland finally revealed the full extent of the poisoning of both land and people……..

Jessie Boylan’s photographs show both sides to the consequences of this crime. In one, Avon Hudson, the former RAAF officer who publicly exposed the extent of British culpability and Australian complicity, sits in his study, surrounded by cardboard boxes. In the other Yami Lester, who as a child was blinded by the mist, stands staring into the sun with his sightless eyes. Lester also appears in Belinda Mason’s Maralinga, an alarming 3D lenticular holographic photograph, that focuses on Lester’s open unseeing eye.

Trevor Nickolls’ painting Revenge of the Stormboy shows the little children caught in the wild chaos of nuclear devastation, and the sense of anger the wider Aboriginal community feels about what happened to the Anangu people, whose land was so lightly taken away from them.

Some of the most moving paintings are by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown, who was born at the Ooldea Mission but stolen and raised in Melbourne and Sydney. When he was an adult he found his family at Yalata, where the Anangu people had been moved because of the tests. His painting Maralinga has the truth of the land partly obliterated by the bombs while a lizard’s skeleton represents the loss of life…….

September 30, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, culture

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