“Coalface” employs the skull and crossed bones, that well known emblem of evil, death, and poison. Painted onto an an old fridge door, it has a roof-like cranium, cut-out window eyes, and teeth like earthworks machinery. This skullhouse has the natural world in its sights – through the socket-window of one eye, we can watch the birds of Bimblebox at the water trough, we hear their sweet voices and their chattering sociability, we can play the soundtrack buttons to augment their song. The birds seem innocently unaware of what is in store for them if the Gallilee Basin is mined for coal. In the other socket of the skull’s eye, we see a changing array of nests, circular as eyeballs, the work of refugee birds, a dozen collected in the urban spaces of Sydney. These nests exhibit all the sadness and resourcefulness of our own species, a struggle to create homes on the fringe. A shanty town.
Photos by Alison Clouston, unless stated otherwise.