The Bunya Mountains is a timeless place, dominated by magnificent trees that have existed across eons of time. As a child we called the eucalypt stands at Burtons Well ‘Red Riding Hood country’; a place of giant trees with menacing out-stretched branches. A dark place of mystery and hidden life – and koalas!
Drought and feral pigs have brought destruction and change to this fragile ecosystem. The once dense canopy is open and littered with skeletal trees. The struggle for survival is laid bare. We see disruption and devastation…or is “D” for disappearing?
In this sensitively rendered image, we are struck by several things – in particular, the mastery of the artist over her medium. Linework is at the same time confident, expressive and yet incredibly fine, demonstrating impressive technique. Colour and tone have been carefully modulated to not only describe the subject matter, but also to support the narrative embedded in the work. Rendered in warm tones, the koala sits in contrast against the cool muted landscape, the faded tones of which indicate the disappearance of its habitat. The large scale of the creature against this remnant forest echoes the scope of the challenge that lies before us if we wish to bring it back from the brink of extinction. Along with the imploring expression evident in the upturned face of the koala, it is the scale and colour treatment used, that leave us in no doubt about the problem being depicted. No longer supported by the cold, sparse trees, the koala makes its appeal to us, the viewer, in a work that expertly utilises visual language to clearly convey meaning.
The beauty of the Bunya Mountains nurtures creativity and fosters a deep sense of awe. I am inspired by the mountain’s embrace and the natural rhythms of plenty and loss. Continued human presence and introduced species have brought change. Art remains a powerful way to share this unique environment and challenge complacency.