Bangerang artist Peta Clancy collaborated with the Dja Dja Wurrung community during a 12-month residency at the Koorie Heritage Trust to produce this major photographic series, titled ‘Undercurrent’ (2018-19).
Clancy’s ‘Undercurrent’ series sets its lens on re-directed water in Dja Dja Wurrung country that submerge the site of an Indigenous massacre and is informed by the Koorie Heritage Trust Massacre Map of Victoria. These soft, blushing landscapes are partially out of focus and slightly askew, masking the dark past of colonial frontier wars.
To create the works, Clancy prints large-scale images of the landscape and attaches them to a custom-built frame on the same site where the image was first taken. She slices and re-photographs the image to challenge our focus on denied histories. Trees peer over the fault line of the divided image, combining two contemporary moments to instil in viewers a yearning to see what is behind and, in turn, remind us to look for the what is hidden below.
Clancy’s unearthing of the cultural scars within the landscape through alluring imagery recall Melissa Lucashenko’s thoughts on the experience of Indigenous people looking at the land: “It is like having double vision. We see the world that white people see, but we are also seeing a mythic landscape at the same time and a historic landscape.”
For the first time on Dja Dja Wurrung Country Undercurrent was presented at Bendigo Art Gallery. Featuring four large scale photographic prints and an expansive 14m wallpaper and immersive soundscape recorded underwater at the massacre site. For the Bendigo Art Gallery exhibition of Undercurrent, Clancy has worked closely with Dja Dja Wurrung artist and curator Natasha Carter who has selected a suite of 19th century paintings and works on paper from Bendigo Art Gallery’s historic collection that depict her ancestral land through a Euro-centric lens and hang in conversation with Clancy’s work.
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