Getting Pinked Collection

2021 / The pink colour in my Getting Pinked series is motivated by the pink fire retardant used to fight bushfires. Fire retardant is not eco-friendly, more research is needed to discover the full effects on the environment, wildlife and us.

‘Awe-inspiring’ might seem like an unusual expression to apply to The Black Summer fires.

For me, awe-inspiring holds a range of meanings, from the breath-taking, to the terrifying, to the truly formidable.

Artist Statement

This is how I experienced the desolate, burnt landscape driving up the Bells Line of Road, two weeks after the 2019-2020 megafires swept through the Blue Mountains, NSW. I was aghast and knew I was witnessing a moment in history that demanded a creative response.

A year on, this initial astonishment resonated throughout my time in artist residencies at The Old School House, Mt Wilson (Dec 2020) and BigCi (Jan 2021). While on these residencies I had the opportunity to talk with local people and learn about the depth of courage and kindness that binds communities together. I also heard instances of colour and comedy that added levity to brighten difficult times.

It was during one of these conversations a volunteer firefighter mentioned that he’d ‘got pinked.’ Instantly I was struck with curiosity – what did that mean? It was an expression I heard several times – it involves being near, sprayed, or dumped-on by pink fire retardant from aerial firefighting support.

From that point on I introduced the colour pink into many of my artworks. This functioned on numerous layers within this body of work. Initially, I added this hue to entrench story into my drawings and paintings. While appreciating the work does not rely on understanding the significance of my use of colour, it has a distinct purpose in reflecting my concern about the use of pink fire-retardant to fight fires.

The pink reflects my concerns for precious birdlife and questions the use of chemicals, especially in light of alternative Cultural Burning practices that care for country.

Continued from above...

My intention here though is not to judge: honestly, if my home was in the fire’s path, I would want it saved too. I am more interested in encouraging thinking about the long-term consequences that fire retardants may have on people, the environment and wildlife; and whether there are other fire management strategies that could improve the impact we have.

Beneficially though, the pink hue added a dimension to my palette that accentuated the magnificent beauty I witnessed in birdlife returning to a scorched land. The absence of the sound and sight of birdlife was pervasive after the fires, and their re-emergence and birdsong expressed a joyful and restorative healing. These colourful glimpses of native birds became beacons of hope and wonder.

I am grateful for the warm welcoming into communities affected by the Black Summer fires and for the many personal accounts people generously shared with me. All of the conversations I had continue to contribute and drive my artistic research about wildfires.

Thank you.


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