In The OCEAN AS A GARDEN, we present at Lost Eden Gallery two and three dimensional artworks as a critical investigation tracing the movement of Australian native plant and seed species, that botanists shipped to England in the 1800s, pressed in layers of paper or planted in Wardian type boxes, some never to arrive, fallen or discarded overboard they are now reimagined at the bottom of the ocean as a garden of sorts, as Symbiocene. Having grown up near the banks of the Indian Ocean, the Kala Pani we learn how human activity impacted on the natural flow of water, listening to grandmothers and othermothers stories of ships leaving to and from Australia, Africa and India laden with ‘exotic’ birds and animals, seedlings of ‘foreign’ species as well as indentured labourers.
Our research has taken us to understand the historical, political and economic process of empire building of the 1800’s and to the contemporary movements of people information, cultures, commodities, and capital. This occurrence had an impact on every country of the ‘New World’ where flora and fauna species were re-named and transported across oceans. Plant ‘transfer’ became the practice where rare and ‘new’ plants moved across the oceans providing the opportunity for the distribution of ‘economic’ plants that lined the purse of countries in Europe. When plants, birds, animals and people perished on the long journey to and from Australia, India, and Africa, they were discarded overboard. When asked what happened and with no answer, we have carried these stories overtime and everywhere. They became our life stories, a whole history, an entire vision of the oceans waiting to be related-to. This collection of works for Ocean As A Garden is the second act of revealing an inheritance we have carried as storytellers.
"...the factors that cause solastalgia can be both natural and artificial. Drought, fire and flood can cause solastalgia, as can war, terrorism, land clearing mining, rapid institutional change and the gentrification of older parts of cities. I claim that the concept has universal relevance in any context where there is the direct experience of transformation or destruction of the physical environment (home) by forces that undermine a personal and community sense of identity and control. Loss of place leads to loss of sense of place experienced as the condition of solastalgia" (Albretch, Glenn in Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World)