Diptych: Memories of Kakadu, Parts I & II, 2022, oil on canvas, 71 x 214 cm.
I had long wanted to paint this memory of a trip I made to Kakadu in 1988. My memories of the lush wetlands and abundant wildlife instill in me the importance of this wonderfully rare habitat.
The depicted scenery is imaginative, a dreamscape collage of recollections of that late afternoon helicopter safari. I have attempted to capture the feelings of being there – centre stage are the brolgas patrolling their territory, along with seven other species that I remember. There are Agile wallabies, orange Lacewing butterflies, a flock of Gullahs, a black cockatoo, a lone dingo, the Flint water snake plus a little green tree frog.
Can you spot within the paintings' very fine detail the seven other species?
The timing of this painting is political – in 2021 Australia's award-winning ABC’s Four Corners programme reported that the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water & Environment was unable to work effectively with the first Nation native title holders, creating major issues for conservation and tourism and placing this World Heritage listed national park under threat.
I hope this work is a reminder of the necessary and urgent preservation needed! Without effective local conservation, as well as all of us addressing the enormous risk posed by global warming, such awe-inspiring places around the world will only be a memory to us all!