Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Place…Your Place…Our Place

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Facts About Australia
Australia is the largest island continent in the world. It has a host of other features that most tourists to this country are not aware of. Here are some facts about Australia that I have procured from various websites in order to put my ArtCloth piece - My Place…Your Place…Our Place - in context.

* Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of some 7.7 million square kilometres.

* It has the world's 3rd largest ocean territory, spanning three oceans (Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans) and covering ca. 12 million square kilometres.

Major currents and circulation patterns around Australia. The continent is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the East, the Indian Ocean to the West and the Southern Ocean to the South.
Figure courtesy of S. Condie (CSIRO).

* Australia claims the third largest exclusive economic zone in the world, with sovereign rights over around 8.1 million km2 of ocean (excluding the Australian Antarctic Territory), greater than its land area. Australia has a coastline of almost 60,000 km that spans from the tropical waters of Northern Australia to the cool-temperate waters of Tasmania.

Australia - showing the continental shelf in light blue.
Source: Google Earth.

* Its vegetation covers nearly 7 million square kilometres or 91 percent of Australia.

* Most of Australia's exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Photo of a Kola. Note: They are not a bear as some tourists believe.

* On 27th October 2013 at 11:00:45 AM (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia was projected to be: 23,260,622. This projection is based on the estimated resident population at 31st March 2013 and assumes growth based on: one birth every 1 minute and 42 seconds, one death every 3 minutes and 31 seconds, a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 12 seconds, leading to an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 19 seconds. Note: The largest Greek population in the world - beside Athens (Greece) - can be found in Melbourne (Australia). No wonder "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was a huge hit here!

The highly regarded Greek community in Melbourne proves to be one of our largest and fastest growing communities in the world.

* The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics projections of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population show an increase from 517,000 people in 2006 to between 713,300 and 721,100 people in 2021. The projected average annual growth rate of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population between 2006 and 2021 is 2.2%, much higher than the same rate for the total Australian population (1.4%). The Indigenous "Dream Time" is the foundation for nearly sixty thousands years of spiritual aboriginal art, traditions, legends, myths, folklore and culture.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous age distribution - 30th June 2006.

* The wattle was adopted as the national floral emblem in 1912.

Wattle tree in full bloom.

* More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast making Australia one of the world's most urbanised coastal dwelling populations. Hence the "outback" is a vast empty interior.

Australia's population distribution.

* Over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia, including 45 Indigenous languages. The most common non-English spoken languages are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin. English is the mother tongue.

* Australia has the world's highest proportion of migrant settlers in a developed nation with over 25% of Australians born in another country.

Multiculturalism in Australia.

* Today's Australia is very much a multicultural society, with Indigenous peoples and migrants from some 200 countries.

* It has 16 world heritage listed sites - including historic townships, cities and landscapes.

Outer Great Barrier Reef.

* Australia used to be a beer-drinking nation but its quaffing of beer plunged to a 65-year low in 2010-2011, with only 4.23 litres consumed per person.

* It is believe that the Aboriginal game of "Mangrook" inspired the rules for Australian Rules Football. While invented in Sydney, it became popular in Victoria.

An Essendon "Bomber" (a Melbourne Football Team) - Courtney Dempsey at play.

* Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902.

* The largest cattle station in the world is Anna Creek Station in South Australia which spans over 34,000 square kilometres. It is even larger than Belgium.

Anna Creek Station.

* It has the highest rate of gambling in the world with over 80 percent of Australian adults engaging in gambling of some kind and 20 percent of the pokie machines in the world are found in Australia.

* Australians are one of the few peoples who eat their national emblems (i.e. Kangaroo and Emu).

Official Australian Coat of Arms.

* Approximately 1.35 trillion bottles of wine are produced by Australia.

Hunter Valley Vineyards - 40 minutes from my place.

* Canberra was selected as the Australia's capital city, because Sydney and Melbourne could not agree about which city should be the capital of Australia. At the time of Federation, Melbourne was the the financial capital of Australia, whilst Sydney was the oldest city.

* Despite having a convict colonial history, Australia's homicide rate is 1.2 per 100,000 population compared to the 6.3 per 100,000 in the United States.

* Australians refer to English people as a Pome (abbreviated to POM), which is actually the acronym for - Prisoners of Mother England.

* Ugg boots or as locals call them "very ugly boots" are an Australian design where a sheepskin has been turned inside out and made into a boot.

Australian Ugg boots.

* Melbourne topped 140 rivals to be crowned the world's most liveable city 2 years in a row since 2011.

* Australia is the only place in the world where you can still find the lung fish which is a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago.

Queensland Lung fish.

* Australia is the sports capital of the world having 70 percent of its total population participating at least once a week in a particular recreational activity or sport.

* Surprisingly (see above) Australia is the most obese country in the world as of 2012 with a 26 percent obesity rate despite being a sport loving nation.

* Debate continues today to change the Australian flag because of the prominence of the British Union Jack, which does not reflect contemporary Australian society nor its aboriginal heritage.

* 80 percent of Australians believe Australia has a strong culture and identity characterized by being down to earth, mateship, honesty, sports and multiculturalism. This statement was based on research organised by the Australia Day Council of NSW in 2008.

My Place…Your Place…Our Place - ArtCloth Work
Artist Statement: Sally Morgan’s book, “My Place” (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1987), traces her experience of her own life in growing up in suburban Perth in the fifties and sixties. She has illustrated her book with some 36 drawings. Her book meanders through a European and Aboriginal psychological and urban landscape and experience.

My ArtCloth piece - "My Place…Your Place…Our Place" - is a mosaic of the images that make up a modern Australian experience, which is not about farming and not even about beaches, but rather reaches into our urban existence and so avoids exploiting the myths that few Australians really experience. The indigenous images in this piece, which have been inspired by Sally Morgan’s book, represent an urban aboriginality (e.g. from Brisbane to Taree to Sydney to Perth etc.) whereas the graffiti images represent a European urban art scape. There are images of religiosity, rubbings of brick walls and images of roof tiles. The centre images of the cloth piece display a continuum of a “modern” commonality of aboriginal and European experiences. This ArtCloth piece is charged with the sentiment that it is “Your Place”, but more so is its inclusive and collective reach that makes it “Our Place”.

Technique and Media: Dyed, discharged, lino block prints, stencilled, silk screened, stamped, mono printed, hand painted and rubbings employing gel, pigment and charcoal on cotton.

Size of Artwork: 1.4 metres wide x 3.5 metres long.

Venue of Exhibited Artwork: Braidwood Quilt Event, Textile Exhibition, Braidwood, New South Wales, Australia.

Images of the ArtCloth artwork - My Place…Your Place…Our Place

My Place…Your Place…Our Place - Full View.

Detail of Panels - 1.

Detail of Panels - 2.

Detail of Panels - 3.

Detail of Mid-Panels - 4.

Detail of Mid-Panels - 5.

Details of Mid-Panels - 6.

Close up of Panels - 7.

Close up of Panels -8

Close up of panels - 8.

Close up of Panels - 9.


Art2wear said...

Intriging piece!
Is there a special reason for the red colour in the middle?

I'm coming to Australia to teach in 2015, Melbourne.
So now I want to know all about Oz

Art Quill Studio said...

Thank you for your kind comment Marijke.

The red color in the centre of the piece signifies a number of common bonds that makes the modern Aboriginal and European experience a truly collective and inclusive experience - one being that of "Our Place".

Some of these collective bonds and experiences include:

*The color of the land throughout Australia is a rich and deep Red Ochre. Ochre was the first pigment used by man in prehistoric cave paintings.
Today, grafitti wall paintings and murals use the color red as it the color that attracts most attention.

*Both the Aboriginal and Australian flags have one color in common - a vibrant and rich red.
The symbolic meaning of red in the Australian Aboriginal flag represents the red earth, the red ochre and a spiritual connection to the land.
In the Australian National flag, the Union Jack (which is red) appears in the upper left corner and symbolises the history of British settlement.

* Red is the color of fire.
The role of fire in the Australian environment became progressively more important over time due to a variety of factors, the increasing aridity and variability of climate, the activities of Aboriginal people who regularly burnt patches of vegetation to facilitate hunting etc, the development and extension of fire- demanding and fire-promoting vegetation, the activities of Europeans - since European settlement wildfires have increased for numerous reasons.

Hope you enjoy your trip in 2015 !