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Having travelled extensively in the Country of my birth. I felt as a photographer I would like to show a side of Australia that tourists rarely see. The working and gritty side of a commodity driven country.
I have used black and white for strength. I see much of Australia as time warped in the 19th century. Much of the attitude beyond the populated coastal regions is early 20th century to 1945 the 50s and 60s. When I left Australia the first time the population had not yet hit 10 million. Today it borders on 25 million and should continue to grow exponentially. However still most new comers cling to the coastal regions like clinging to the gunnel of a boat. Little effort has been made by successive governments to develop the interior of this vast continent Island for community growth.
The main development has been for short term commercial / profit driven gains. Such objectives have caused the plundering of one of the world’s great commodity reservoirs with little thought for the landscape or its inhabitants. Many will say irrigation is a problem however Australia has one of the great sweet water catchments of the world in the Great Artesian Basin covering in excess of 1/3 of the country.
The country suffers from lack of real communication infrastructure development, railways and roads. There has been too much profiteering by small groups in power that have been too quick to take the vast sums of corporate cash on offer by the multi-nationals that covert the buried riches of Australia. The country is the epitome of the good life for the few a promotion of the 1%. This issue manifests in the lack of of support for the farming communities, wildlife protection and the governments inertia related to fire seasons.
Still many commodity industries are producing as they have for the last 150 years through the blood sweat and tears of hard yakka (yakka Australian for work). As an example Australia produces 1/3 of the world’s wool this wool from the Merino sheep is of the finest micron quality on the globe. Although some of the micron quality ( not all ) has been purposely lowered for more cost effective Chinese manufacturing. Shearing still takes place in the shearing shed on the sheep stations as it has for 150 years. Many commodities are mined in small holdings by sweating miners sometimes working in dangerous conditions, Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, White Cliffs to name a few.
Tradition housing dating to the 1800s
From the 1800s
Images by Shane Aurousseau
The above article is a good article and is an indicative parallel to the broader issues of global racism. The issues outlined in the article are issues that Americans should be able to relate to. Australia generally has little tolerance towards the Aboriginal community and yet exploits the historical track for purely commercial reasons. Growing up under the white Australia policy we never mentioned our neighbours and were taught little about one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world. We certainly never went to the same school or sat next to them at a cinema and continually still joke about how ill kept they are and their drinking habits. The issue with many Australian academics is that they are products of history most having grown up under the white Australia policy, we are our fathers. While travelling in the outback I heard a woman shopkeeper say ‘an Aboriginal woman came in here this morning, she was very nice and really polite’. Why wouldn’t she be what was the shopkeeper expecting to be mugged? Australian Academia does not have a silver bullet more like a smoking gun. This country of immigrants still dislikes diversity in most of its forms. The surface practical issues can be cleaned up and like justice seen to be done but the deep rooted psychological issues inherited from our forefathers takes time and is harder to banish.
At sometime whether Aboriginal or European it is necessary to ring-fence but also to look beyond our own cultures.
It could be a parallel for Brexit. We still dislike difference we still distrust diversity without really knowing why an insecurity that Australia and the world must face at sometime if we are to survive as an educated, enlightened species. We must also find ways to not forget but to forgive the past or next we will be prosecuting the descendents of Alexander the Great for his misdemeanors of 323 BC.
The featured image by photographer Shane Aurousseau could be called ‘Which way to Look Now’.
Images Shane Aurousseau
Sarah Goodall Deputy Head of Mission Australian Embassy of Athens Greece opening the Athens exhibition of works by Aussie photographer artist Shane Aurousseau. The exhibition of images taken around the sheep breeding region of Condobolin central NSW and based on the poem by AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ the setting for the poem being the overflow on the Lachlan river at Condobolin.AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson also attributed ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda. The exhibition supported by the Australian Embassy of Athens and sponsored by Canadian investment company Syracuse Main Inc. and the fine art paper company Innova art.
Opening Exhibition ‘Ianos’ Athens Greece by Australian Artist Photographer Shane Aurousseau
Based on the Poem ‘Clancy of the overflow’ by AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson
Shearing images Condobolin NSW Lachlan river overflow location for ‘Clancy of the Overflow’
‘Ianos Café’ Athens The exhibition from 1 5/9/2016 – 15/10/2016
Deputy Head of Mission Sarah Goodall Australian Embassy of Athens opens the Exhibition
Opening evening Photographer Michalis Konstantinides Athens
Australian Embassy of Athens
Syracuse Main Inc. Innova Art Paper
Below: Link to article on Exhibition of work by Artist Photographer Shane Aurousseau Athens.
The link below also carries a potted history of AB “Banjo” Paterson the creator of “Clancy of the Overflow” “The Man from Snowy River” and “Waltzing Matilda”
Link to ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ – Banjo Paterson
Link to ‘The Man from Snowy River’ – Banjo Paterson
Link to Waltzing Matilda – Banjo Paterson