It was an event that many people in the country were unaware of at the time, and one that had social, political and environmental implications that still resonate, decades on. Black Mist, Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition commemorating the British atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s.
These tests occurred between 1956 and 1963 at the Maralinga site, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia. A total of seven nuclear tests were performed. The site was contaminated with radioactive materials – and debate has raged on since about the significant radiation hazards that still exist, and in particular, how this affected the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land.
This new exhibition features artworks by over 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists selected from both private and public exhibitions. The artwork is presented via a range of mediums including paint, sculpture, photography and new media, all exploring the impact that these tests had on the people and the land.
This is a little known story with lasting consequences, and a story that, now more than ever, has a place in present-day realities.
Black Mist, Burnt Country is showing at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Main Gallery, from 27 May – 9 July.
Image credit: blackmistburntcountry.com.au