Kangaroo

Kangaroo, 2020

Four, multi-piece toned gelatin silver film artworks combining plein air shadowgrams and medical x-rays, each in a Mylar envelope.

I came across the rotting carcass of this Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) in Mallee scrub whilst still hobbling from a reconstructive foot operation. A few years later my wife Annie underwent ankle surgery. The parallels between our sapien anatomy evident in the medical x-rays and the cameraless imprints I made of the supine macropod belies their very different status. The kangaroo has ambivalent presence in Australia. Its stature, strength, adaptability, grace and speed are celebrated. But in a conquered land they are reminders of what remains inviolate, absurd, inferior, comical or worthless in antipodean nature: favoured quarry for those bent on suppressing the indigenous. Although this particular kangaroo died naturally, the imperfect, fractured imagery reflects upon the confused semiotics of native animals in Australia, confusion rooted in denial of biological kinship and the contradictions of a rapacious mercantile culture.