Devilish Tasmanian field notes!

Eight photoshoots, countless potoroos, wavy turbos, grannies, New Zealand screw shells, banksia cones, exquisite cheese and wine, grandpas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, forests that smell like expensive aromatherapy and the biggest exhibition of Eyes as Big as Plates in the world to date – here are our hot picks from our adventures in Tasmania!

We are also proud to share a link to our appearance on the Australian national radio and the details for a panel discussion this Saturday 23rd of March starting at 2.15 pm in the Founders Room at Salamanca Arts Centre, and the artist talk in the Long Gallery on the same date at 4 pm.

Our first collaborater was a resident from One Care in Kingston. Margaret was born in Singapore to Scottish parents and grew up in the hotel trade. She has worked hard since she was little, peeling potatoes, unpacking and serving beer, and cooking more meals than many can even imagine. It was 40 years since she had been to a bush trip until our Kaoota Tramway track adventure. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Margaret is sporting a native cherry headpiece with a matching man fern. A cubic meter of these blackwood seeds was transported to the Long Gallery’s video room for a sonic entrance. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

An artist, author, buddhist, tree enthusiast, occupational therapist, Christine is the co- author of several books: one of them samples eco villages around the world. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Overlooking Hobart and enveloped in eucalyptus in the upper reaches of Kunanyi aka Mount Wellington, Christine braved the ever-changing Tassie weather. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Christine’s husband had no idea we already had plans for him that afternoon… © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

We stopped by Cremorne Beach to collect some bivalve shells, oysters and mussels for Malcolm’s oceanic veil. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Malcolm is a researcher, academic, engineer and an author who rarely goes anywhere without Leonard the dog. A true gentleman of the sea, Malcolm enjoyed a breezy afternoon at Blackmans Bay. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

A grand thank you to our cultural advisor, the formidable Sinsa Mansell for introducing us to Uncle Dougie; seen here seconds after emerging from the depths of a grand tussock at Hansson’s Beach on Bruny Island. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

A proud Tasmanian Aboriginal man and a passionate singer-songwriter, Uncle Dougie was born and raised on Cape Barron Island. All the Uncles and Aunties would gather to sing and dance and it was a huge part of the island culture. He worked as a farmhand on Flinders Island and moved to Launceston as a teenager. Honouring the fifty-plus years of muttonbirding Uncle Dougie blended into the tussocks in Adventure bay in Bruny Island. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

This eight-armed sea star greeted us at Coal Point, where we did our next two photoshoots. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

 

Sinsa also introduced us to Uncle Allan, an artist and a Tasmanian Aborigine. His parents were amongst the last nomads in Tasmania. He was nine years old when he was taken away from his family, making him part of Australia’s stolen generation. After many years living as a hermit in the bush, he developed a spiritual connection with the land and learned to channel his activism and creativity through art.

“The artwork that I produce is unique in that the Tasmanian Aboriginal art culture has been lost in a short period of time. Consequently, the images that I create are my own. Because the culture which we had was stolen and discarded, I have had to create my own symbols.”

Many of Uncle Allan’s works feature eucalyptus leaves, a major identity marker for the aboriginal community.

Uncle Allan and his gum tree armour faced the sunrise at Coal Point.

We were driving on a dirt road looking for locations in the bush, when a truck filled with firewood came to a screeching halt. Out stepped Uncle Allan, followed by a topless gentleman called Scotty. Both joined our team for dinner and shared stories from their many decades of friendship. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Scotty is the true ‘don’t worry, be happy’ surfer, living the high life in a house he built on Bruny Island. He feels at one with the sea and set some time aside to be floated by the waves amongst the bull kelp. After a stint in the air force, he worked at a salmon farm, in mineral exploration and is currently a deck hand for abalone divers. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Thanks to our excellent location scout Sally Sadler (fourth from the left) for introducing us to Northern Tasmania. These horses were extremely disappointed they didn’t get to join us foraging for materials on this particular maize field. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

 

Edith loves her digs so much she wanted her portrait to be done right in the garden at Umina Park where she has been living for the past six years. Having spent plenty of hours farming in North Tasmania, she now focuses on excelling in bocce. The fresh greens of the maize husks complimented Edith’s complexion so nicely we ditched the actual cobs, all this in celebration of her agricultural roots. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

These are Jenny Watson’s woods at Sisters Hills. She bulldozed the team and their mobility walkers in her offroader to the special banksia serratas on top of the hill. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Max’s ‘old man banksias’ are fitting for the 91 year-old powerhouse who grew up in Boat Harbour (just down the road from Sisters Hill) and worked in Burnie and the surrounding areas his whole life. Max remembers fondly how he and his twelve siblings went barefoot year round on the family dairy farm. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

We know only one human being that could pull this operational feat off and she stands right here. Hats off to Emma Porteus, the creative producer at the Salamanca Arts Centre, who had the idea of bringing Eyes as Big as Plates to Tasmania! One of Emma’s many special maneuvers was a 12-hour return journey to the mainland (Melbourne) to get the film developed in time for the scanning, printing and exhibition opening. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The Long Gallery at the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart is currently showing the largest Eyes as Big as Plates exhibition to date, with seven new works created in Tasmania, along with 23 portraits from around the world, sculptures and video works (by little old us and Daham Yeo). © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Thank you to the whole team at the Salamanca Arts Centre, especially Ainslie, Tash, David, Shane, Allana, Sheridan, Joe and Lyndon!

The official thank yous also to Australia Council for the Arts, Regional Arts Australia, Ten Days on the Island, One Care in Burnie and Kingston and Luke Wagner.

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