On February 10, the Pilbara Project launched its first exhibition “52 Weeks On: A Pilbara Project Exhibition” at the newly renovated FORM Gallery in Perth. The exhibition also opened the following night at the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland, details shown on the previous blog post here.
The exhibition features new photography and film by renowned artists Les Walkling, Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher, Michael Fletcher and Peter Eastway. It is curated by William L. Fox, Director of the Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art. More details on the exhibition can be found here.
The book launch for “The Pilbara Project: Field Notes and Photographs Collected over 2010” was also a great success, with the artists on hand for signing.
Photographs by Michelle Taylor
The rest of the photos are from a flatback turtle tagging trip I volunteered on. We stayed at Mundabullangana Station which is maybe 50ish km south of Port Hedland. Most people think of the Pilbara and think desert, but there’s an amazing coastline up there!
My Pilbara experience was birthed in the early 1960’s when my family moved to Onslow where my father took up the position of Shire Clerk with the Ashburton Shire Council.
We lived in a fantastic old house right on the beach. It had patterned tin ceilings, a huge, wrap around verandah and a bath that had been sand blasted when the roof blew off the house in two mammoth cyclones a few years before we arrived. Dad’s work took him all through the Shire area and he got to know the station people and all the fantastic places in the region and we went with him whenever we could.
We had tinned spaghetti and billy tea from a camp fire in the dry Cane River bed, camped in the open on the banks of the Ashburton River listening to the dingoes howl and the donkeys bray in the still, pure air. We revelled when the king tides consumed the beach and swam in the luxuriance of the abundant, warm water. We explored the depths of Millstream, were at the opening of the original bridge at Nanutarra and travelled to Roebourne for the interschool sports carnivals where we camped at the school and competed against the very first Dampier team. We were blessed to be able to spend an idyllic week on Thevenard Island and swam with the fish and the manta rays. Just us in an old tin hut with an outside dunny with a Land Rover door as a lid and a bungarra named Charlie.
This magnificent region, saturated in the clear, brilliant majesty of its skies, the incredible subtleties of its changing landscape, the kaleidoscope of changing colour, the magic of the light, the form, the hue, the silence and the brutal honesty of its magnificent heart absolutely pierced my soul. I have just concluded another seven wonderful years feeding my inner self with its beauty, living first in Tom Price and most recently, Port Hedland. I grew to be human in Hedland. There I found what it is to truly love – not in the physical sense but in the more profound way of the awakening of the inner light of the real me. I learned to give and I learned to be – gifts from a region that gives constantly, that nurtures and caresses the very essence of one’s being.
As I flounder now with the reality of my loss, as I struggle to re-acquaint myself with the barren city that has no soul and only pretence to offer, the essence of the Pilbara supports me. In my mind, I am always overlooking Pretty Pool in the morning as she is swathed in her subtle robes of pink and gold with the moist fragrance of her being nestled on my skin and the song of her wandering waters whispering in my ears. In this I am alive and real again.