TITLE: Safe Colour + Fish
MEDIUM: Acrylic on plywood, artificial turf
I made innumerable trips to the goldfields region in the mid 1990s, camping at Niagara Dam, Weowanie Rock, and visiting the town sites of Leonora, Gwalia and Kookynie. Fossicking at old tip sites and amongst the detritus of the past in great abundance were the lids from canned pilchard fish – quite beautiful elliptical shapes. Those early prospectors certainly enjoyed the fish, after a hard day's dry pan handling and digging for the wealth, what better than a hearty snack of pilchard on damper?
My initial response to the Safe Keeping brief was to make replica fish of the South Coast [where I live], brightly coloured and bound to tempt the mining aesthete.
The Coolgardie Safe, in its many and varied manifestations is a strict utilitarian domestic rather drab appliance readily found on the back verandah or porch adjacent to the kitchen of the average mining shack, pre refrigeration. My response was to build a completely functionless scale replica copy of the Coolgardie Safe, constructed from plywood and finished with a bright and ordered colour scheme. This piece is presented on artificial turf, in itself a sly reference to that great feat of engineering - CY O'Connor's water pipeline to Kalgoorlie bringing the necessary to that parched region.