This work pays homage to the native Australian tree species, Casuarina Cunninghamiana, also called River Sheoak. From the pollen on... Read More
This work pays homage to the native Australian tree species, Casuarina Cunninghamiana, also called River Sheoak. From the pollen on the tips of its branches, to the nodules on the roots which convert nitrogen in the air into nitrate in the soil, River Sheoaks provide food and shelter for many native animals and birds. Finches, rainbow lorikeets and black cockatoos feast on its seeds and wagtails, peewees and butcher birds nest in its branches. Small mammals, like bandicoots, dig up and eat the little root nodules. Due to their size, casuarina are often planted as windbreaks and they can also help prevent soil erosion. The wood of casuarina can be used as firewood and fence posts and First Nation peoples use resin extracted from casuarina in their diet, for medical purposes and as an adhesive.
Here, I have created an altar piece comprised of digitally-manipulated photographs which I captured on the banks of the Bega River near where I live on the Far South Coast of New South Wales. The lower half of each image depicts the base of an altar. A dense, symmetrical structure of sturdy roots, suggestive of female anatomy, cleaves to silty terrain. Atop each altar sits a resplendent offering of casuarina foliage, an exaltation honouring the bounty and beauty of this magnificent tree.
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