Shoalhaven Gallery, NSW
Stratum II is an interpretative artwork that is a response to the cultural,
historical, social or metaphorical aspect of the Shoalhaven.
The artwork encapsulates the layers of history that the Shoalhaven maintains as interpreted by the artists. The suitcases are representative of passages of time. The metaphorical journey, like a diaspora but taken within itself. Through adaption, interpretation, it moves to another. When on a journey one’s suitcase holds all that is precious, important, valued.
Buried in the base of the artwork the first suitcase holds sandstone and coal, the precious items that underpin the region. The coal’s physical presence, whilst not in the actual bedrock of the site, is a response to the current non-sustainability of coal. Coal the pariah now reimagined as coal seam gas.
Each layer of suitcases interpretatively brings us up through the historical stratum. Shards of plates, teapots and clocks, once useful, now useless, like social remnants, cultural detritus, scattered through the cases. Doll parts and real bones intermingle in a dance.