Sites of Meaning

Sites of Meaning was an ephemeral land artwork, located upon the earth of the Cossack clay pans. To develop the work, the artists worked closely with Aboriginal Traditional Owners, the Ngarluma Elders, to explore cultural narratives and experiences of place. The resulting work graphically documents a story based on the four elements of Water, Air, Earth/Country and Life/Culture – dynamically referencing the history, people and landscape of place.

Located within, and using material from, the land – the artwork was designed to change with time, and to slowly enmesh back into the landscape. Existing as a narrative drawn on the surface of the earth through individual clay forms, the three-dimensional installation spanned 400 x 60 metres. 400 primary school students from the region were involved in the production of the work.

Sites of Meaning incorporates local narratives, both historical and contemporary, in a positive outcome of collaboration. The work constantly wavers between the literalness of its making and the poetic reading of its place in the landscape. — Ric Spencer
From above, a topographic view of the work depicted the form of a fish entrapped within a fishing net. From below, textural materiality – of clay forms upon clay earth – is resonant.

Project Title: Site of Meaning Community group/s and key stakeholders involved:
  • Ngarluma Elders;
  • Roebourne Art Group;
  • Shire of Roebourne;
  • Roebourne District High School;
  • St Lukes School;
  • Wickham Primary School;
  • Karratha Primary School.
Project location: Cossack, Pilbara, Western Australia Year: 2009 Photography: