Worrorra Stone Tool, Small
Worrorra Stone Tool, Small
350 gsm Hahnemuhle paper
This artwork is a monoprint, which means that because of the printing process no two prints are the same. All prints made using these printing plates are unique.
Delivery cost is additional.
Signed authenticity certificate supplied by artist
SAFE KEEPING EXHIBITION, 2018
Safe Keeping looks closely at the Worrorra stone tools collected by Kimberley bushman VIc Cox and asks, if a stone tool is found what should you do? In 2015 I bought a 10 acre bush block in the Kimberley that had belonged to Vic Cox, a well known bushman and crocodile hunter. Vic was a collector who scoured the Country and his property contained collections of found and traded objects from the Kimberley coast including 100 Aboriginal stone tools, some marked with a location and date linking the tools to the Worrorra language group.
ABOUT THE MAKING
The most important part of this journey was when I asked Worrorra elders Nyorna Wooladoodja and Janet Oobagooma permission to creatively respond to the artefacts found in Vic Cox’s collection was the most important part of this entire journey. I acknowledge the authority, openness and support of these elders, whom I respect and value.
Vic’s stone tool collection contains a variety of used and unfinished stone tools and cores used to create smaller fakes. I began by making small watercolour studies of the stone tools, a visual inventory, painting each flake scar until gradually mapping the entire stone. If you consider how most people experience stone artefacts, it’s looking through a secure, glass enclosure, unable to touch, hold and feel how the object was designed to function. As cultural materials, it was important that my artistic representation maintained the objects’ form and integrity, which naturally led me to consider the deeper cultural and social narratives around the safe keeping of these objects on Country, within the deep caves and ledges.
Painting focused my attention on the tools’ construction and surface pattern. Worn, scratched and smooth in sections, with strong lines defining each flake scar. In order to map each stone, I first needed to dismantle the form, to peel away the surface in order to rebuild it again by hand. I used stone and pencil to rub imprints of texture onto paper.
On our 10-acre bush block near Derby, amongst Vic’s collections I found sheets of metal lying in the red Kimberley dirt, worn and marked over years of exposure to the harsh environment and curious wildlife. The sheets and their organic marks became my first experimental plates. Cutting each stone tool into metal pieces, I then scratched the plates back into the earth, leaving them exposed in the bush, then inking and pressing the plates through a printing press to re-build each tool, piece by piece. Hours of preparation and only minutes to print an entire artwork before the paper dried and cracked. The result was always a surprise, organic, a mapping of something past and present.
This body of work has challenged me personally on many levels, and opened communication with Aboriginal people across Australia whose knowledge and experiences have shaped my understanding of country, culture and story ownership. Vic’s story is his own and these tools whether found, traded or gifted came to live on his old bush block, discovered and return to their custodians and now a catalyst for voicing a simple but important message.
"Leave it as it is" (Maitland Ngerdu, Worrorra)