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1183 Above & Beyond

jennifer joy

South Lismore, Australia

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Artist's Description

From very high above Australia it is easy to see how the great rivers come into being … and how all around the river course there are signs of life – vegetation on the river flats, forests on the hillsides. Looks nice. But wander a few kilometres further out and a different world awaits – vegetation is sparse, the land flattens out, and life is much tougher, hostile even. Into this vast unknown my mind would wander as if I were the little boy lost I remember from the song of my childhood. How would I have survived? Would I have survived? What if one of my boys were lost out there? No, that’s too hard to contemplate!

This country is so unknown to me and yet I have traveled extensively across it many, many times. But the landscape is something I fly over, or drive through, always to and from the perceived safety of cities or towns. On the few occasions we do stop in the middle of no-where to admire a view, or to stretch cramped legs, or to check the ropes on the machine on the back of the ute … on those occasions it is not long before the apprehension about being so far from the trimmings of the known ‘civilised’ world in which we usually reside begin to surface, and it is not long before we seek the ‘security’ of the ute and continue our trip with talk of how wonderful it would be to go bushwalking when we retire. Great idea, but I think there will be so many other things to do…

As an anglo-Australian girl-child of the 1950s I was brought up to be scared of the the landscape, and, no matter how much I am passionate about the beauty I see, how much I learn from the challenges I face when I contemplate the landscape and work on these images, or how much I rationalise my place in my universe and consider the little I know of the great truths shared by the Aboriginal people of this land, the one thing I do know for certain is I am still coming to terms with that fear.

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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