St Andrews, Victoria, November 2017
In collaboration with the St Andrews Men's Shed,
St Andrews Historic Society, The St Andrews Arts Group
& The St Andrews Film Society & The Wadambuk Community Centre
Living in the Landscape Public Art Incubator
Supported by the Nillumbik Shire Council
This public art commission carries through from my work on 'curating inclusive communities' and promoting the right to the city. The project recognises a lost mining history in the St Andrews community paying particular attention to an uncommonly known history of a Chinese mining community buried in the local area. My project focused on bringing together various community partners to research and explore this lost history through a socially engaged public art project.
Anonymous Sojourners in the Australian Bush pays attention to a relatively unknown history of a Chinese community buried at the Queenstown Cemetery in the 1850-80s during the St Andrews mining boom. A series of eight boat lanterns were created to pay respect to and acknowledge this uncommonly known history, acting as a gesture of symbolically returning a community never intending to stay. Eight was chosen to reflect the eight inquest reports, eighty or so people buried and eight as a number of prosperity in Chinese culture. The full moon imagery references Li Bai’s Tang Dynasty poem On a Tranquil Night, representing longing for home and family reunion. The project was developed in collaboration with the St Andrews Men’s Shed and in consultation with locals, the St Andrews Historical Society, Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre, The Wadambuk Arts Group and The Chinese Museum, Melbourne.
On a Tranquil Night
Besides my bed a pool of light
Is it frost on the ground?
I lift my eyes and see the moon
I bow my head feeling a longing for home