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Old Bones – Holly Story

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Banksias are in the family Proteaceae, named—with a poetic turn of phrase—after Proteus the ancient Greek god of the sea waves. Proteus could foretell the future but tried to avoid this responsibility by always changing his form so he was almost impossible to pin down. Truly the Proteaceae do take many forms, and the genera Banksia are no exception. They are shapeshifters, from tall littoralis to ground hugging repens, and very many of them only occur naturally in the SW of Australia, this home ground. Lately I have heard them called “the canary in the coal mine”, the big old trees being one of the first to succumb to the changing conditions of a drying climate. So now they can foretell the future too…

Old Bones, shapeshifting Banksias is my response to the Banksia species I know best, B.grandis, or Poolgarda, the Bull Banksia. My intention is to honour its ancient place in this landscape, to imagine an uncanny side to its vegetable nature, and so find a way to share it as the remarkable being that it truly is.

The artist would like to pay her respects to the original inhabitants of this place, the Noongar people, their elders past, present and future, and would like to honour their way of seeing and knowing in this landscape.

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