Image credit: John Wolseley, The pearl sher’s voyage from Ise Shima to Roebuck Bay, 1985-89, sumi ink and watercolour on paper on canvas.
John Wolseley & Mulkun Wirrpanda:
Molluscs / Maypal and the Warming of the Seas
Geelong Gallery: 55 Little Malop St, Geelong
30 March – 2 June
John Wolseley’s 2016 gift to Geelong Gallery of his ten metre long, six panel panoramic watercolour The pearl fisher’s voyage from Ise Shima to Roebuck Bay, 1985-89, is the catalyst for an immersive installation in which Wolseley and senior Yolgnu artist and clan leader Mulkun Wirrpanda, extend their decade-long collaboration. Both artists share a profound sense of the beauty and fragility of the earth and its ecosystems, and in this project their works meditate especially on the mollusc as a powerful indicator of changing oceanic conditions and water systems.
Wolseley’s work will include unique woodblock prints taken from swamp mangroves that bear the bored channels of ‘shipworms’, a widespread species of mollusc feared by 17th and 18th century naval explorers, including James Cook, for its capacity to consume a ship’s timber, rendering it dangerously unseaworthy. Mulkun Wirrpanda’s lyrical bark paintings and larrikitj maintain knowledge about traditional foods sourced on land and in the waters, including shipworms.
Artists: Mulkun Wirrpanda, John Wolseley
Curator: Jason Smith