Political Art Leaves Mark; Habitus {Ndash} Habitat Exhibit on Its Way to Gympie Gallery

Article excerpt

QUEENSLAND'S spectacular natural environments have been an inspiration for many artists over many years, whether the focus is paint, photography, ephemeral art, sculpture, printmaking or other media.

One such place of inspiration is Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island and home to Tin Can Bay artist Maree Edmiston-Prior.

Maree, along with Gympie region artists Margaret McArdle, Mo Skett and Barbara Hart, was chosen to be involved in a project titled Habitus - Habitat with pre-eminent contemporary artist Fiona Foley as mentor for the Fraser Island Great Walk. A Badtjala woman herself, Fiona explored the relationships between Badtjala and non-Badtjala people in two political artworks for the Fraser Island Great Walk.

Foley's first ephemeral artwork at McKenzie Jetty Signpost I involved wrapping the disused piers in red tape to reflect her frustration over the handling of the Wondunna clan's native title claim to that part of Fraser Island.

The claim has been slow, ham-fisted, untidy and concealed, and the wrapping of the jetty looks like tatty underwear, full of false modesty, overworked tape struggling to cover bulbous wooden appendages. From other points of view the tape also appears like a spider web, treacherous and tacky, full of hidden traps and follies.

Signpost II, sited on the shores of Lake McKenzie, addressed the habitus element of the rationale of the project, the human condition. The words "white trash" were written large on the sand with clothes that were sourced from local op-shops and St Vincent de Paul outlets, representing another visual folly. …