Helen Tiernan is an artist of Aboriginal Irish decent who draws on the historic record of colonial encounter to recontextualize the complexity of these histories in dramatic works of lyrical and surreal inspiration.
“Indigenous people used complex social laws to share information, bounty and history and left traces of this in the landscape, storytelling, ceremony and song. This enabled them to survive and thrive a multitude of environments for over 70,000 years. Europeans left a legacy of settler activity across the landscape and documented their experiences in the accounts of explorers, artists and writers.”
The strong red vertical lines and the couple featured in this work point to the process of evolution occurring within Australian society and the importance of the social fabric and interconnections created that give strength, wisdom and resilience. In Aboriginal terms the lines are the storylines that describe the lore and spiritual knowledge that binds all people together through triumph and adversity. The couple are a universal metaphor for human bonds and co-operation.
The Paintings refers to colonial artist Joseph Lycett’s alluring night skies and Richard Browne’s observations of canoe kitchen fishing, by the light of Yellana, (the moon). As images of First Australians they capture an idyllic vision of Aboriginal lives in ‘country’ which has been imbedded in the Australian collective psyche.
“We are stronger when we are together”.Share