Songlines of the Here+Now

Songlines; Ancient Aboriginal maps passed on through song, story or dance. When sung these songs describe landmarks lining the route of a journey. These songlines allow the traveller to navigate their way across vast distances of the Australian landscape. In doing so, these travellers keep the sacred land alive.

I have always been in awe of the vast ancient landscapes Australia has to offer. The comparisons between the stories of the past and the present, the Indigenous and the modern and the connections its inhabitants form to those landscapes. It was upon learning about the mythology surrounding Aboriginal Songlines that the idea to take on a project going walkabout, alone, across the Australian landscape was affirmed.

Over the course of the summer, I set off to explore the deep-rooted connection Australians’ hold to the landscape they call home. Weaving my way across the country, I spent five weeks working out of a make shift studio in the back of my car, spending my nights camping in a tent in the country’s national parks.

Covering a total of 10,500 km, I collected scattered stories and imprinted memories strewn over the Australian landscape. I gained a deeper understanding of the Country’s past, and of the Indigenous’ deep-rooted connection to the land that has been their home for thousands of years. .

What emerged were two conflicting devotions to the landscape; that of the Indigenous sacred connection to the land and the modern Australians commercialisation of space through land tourism. Despite the tenuous past of the nation, there is a shared love of the land, both past and present. Giving no weight to any one persons, physical representations of individuals I encountered were removed. The stories that were shared are represented through the landscape in which they were created.

The resulting body of work is a homage to the Indigenous peoples of Australia. A record of a journey, collections of landscapes and still-lifes, stories and natural interventions that explore human experience through listening to the language of the Australian landscape.