A Surrounded Beauty, 2018 -
Island. We are surrounded. Surrounded by sea. By ocean. Pushing at us. Us pushing back. In this enclosure we look, constantly, at ourselves. We need no mirrors. Fully formed in our own image. Young and strong we bend and twine, twist and writhe. A new creature. A bold new form. Resilient. Self-derived. As we grow, we harden. Slowly. Mostly surely. The reflections calcify. The salts accumulate. Catching us. Held. Intransigent.
The shape of land. Island life has a specific grandeur. An intensity of surface area, of contrasts. Abundance. Scarcity. Passion. Apathy. Renaissance. Disenchantment. All alongside. And for Tasmania, the particular smell: of long habitation, of dispossession and destruction, of denial. Does renewal visit after acknowledgment? Can the melancholy shift melody? Is that even the desire?
A Surrounded Beauty is a camera-led psychological investigation into islandness. What roles do geography, ancestry and cultural memory have in shaping identity? How do isolation and self-containment intertwine and influence? Challenging traditional documentary portraiture, A Surrounded Beauty explores the fictionalised spaces of the subconscious, imagination and memory.
Words by Eleanor Whitworth