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Screen Space – Pilar Mata Dupont

Screen Space – Pilar Mata Dupont

A newly acquired work from Pilar Mata Dupont, Undesirable bodies 2018, features as part of The Botanical: Beauty and Peril exhibition.

How do you weed a pond? Why do you need to? In this newly acquired work by Pilar Mata Dupont the artist is posing these questions in the context of a colonial and post-colonial issues in the Pilbra region, Western Australia’s north.

Filmed in Millstream Chichester National Park, the focus of the work is Jirndawurrunha, the area surrounding a freshwater pond, sacred to the Yindjibarndi people. Arriving to the area in the 1920s, British colonists planted pond lilies, both ground and underwater climbing vines, and Afghan date palms, adding to the landscape plants which, according to their taste, made the landscape more picturesque, more beautiful. Ecologically this has had a huge effect on the ecosystem and recent efforts to return it to the original and native setting have proven difficult. The pond, Miliyanha, is only accessed by the Yindjibarndi people for ceremonial or rainmaking purposes, so the weeding can only happen by non-indigenous rangers.

For Mata Dupont, the area epitomises complex ecological, political and cultural dynamics of Australian colonial history and the ongoing contemporary issues arising from it.

Accompanying this work is documentation of the ceremony performed by Michael Woodley before the filming of Undesired bodies began.

This work was created at Jirndawurrunha, a sacred site on Yindjibarndi Country in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The filmmakers are grateful to the Yindjibarndi people for their generous support of this project. We respectfully acknowledge and thank the traditional custodians of the land, the Yindjibarndi people, and their elders past, present and future.

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