This is the first painting derived from a drive out to a place near Ballarat, called Sister’s Rocks. I can’t remember how I heard about it but I’d really enjoyed painting “Thunderbolt’s Rock”, an earlier work with a similar theme.
Sister’s Rocks is an amazing place and very spooky. I’m sure it must have been an important place for indigenous people. It was perfect for my purposes and I’m sure I will probably paint different aspects, of what is a much bigger site than the painting shows, later.
Like most of my paintings, this is a pretty heavily edited version of the real place. All of the graffiti is invented and I’ve modified the forms of the rocks to make them a little more monolithic. It was also the middle of the day and about 40 degrees in the shade when we were there- so, as is often the case, I had to imagine more atmospheric conditions…
I called the painting “The History Wars” after struggling to come up with a title. The debate currently going on in academe about history seemed to resonate with some of the things I was trying to get across- in the sense that, despite all the present bickering (and your own bias on the reading and recounting of Australian history), these rocks were here long before people and will no doubt be here long after we are gone. The graffiti is meant to indicate this transience, as well as being really interesting graphically- and fun to paint!