Canaipa Mudlines

Canaipa Mudlines finds company within the broader movement of art practice that adopts the natural environment as studio, gallery, archive, teacher, trigger, idea-smith, wise collaborator and honest critic. Since 2016 we have come alive to the outer movements and changes, the subtitles and minutiae, as well as the wild and unpredictable behaviours that characterise a world that lies beyond the control and restraining power of the ingenious human engineer. From Littoral shores belted by mangroves to swampy wetlands, soft and alive under foot, to narrow sandy shores and humming casuarina groves, we have found that the sensibility responsive to form, pattern, contrast and structure, is enlivened and broadened. The excursions are not just isolated ventures into the environment, but are an unfolding revelation of the nature of self and world.

Our activities are largely based within the South Moreton Bay Islands, a small clutch of inhabited islands within Quandamooka country. Jencoomercha (Macleay ), Canaipa (Russell), Ngudooroo (Lamb) and Karragarra, which has always maintained its indigenous name. Within this group, we have worked mostly on Canaipa Island, including hosting several artist residencies and public events. We were also guests on Minjerriba (North Stradbroke Island), in 2017, welcomed to that country by the generous hospitality of Delvene Cockatoo Collins and Quandamooka Elder Evelyn Parkin. For the most part, the materials we use are found and and remain on site. Occasionally we bring a spool of string, a bolt of muslin, a square of canvas. Occasionally we find objects that have been left by previous visitors: a chair, a bottle, a lawn mower. The boundaries of the inhabited and natural worlds are not firm, even here. But one thing seems certain: it is the natural world that has the final say, when it comes to the consequences of what goes in and what comes out.

Rocky Point, April 2017

With a strong South Easterly stirring up the island elsewhere, we nestled in at Rocky Point cove, where the western facing aspect gave us relative calm. It was here, almost one year ago, that we came across the beautiful clay that thickened below a surface of grey-brown mud and sand. Close to the oxide and ochre banks, this white body appeared in small mounds, erupting forth in porcelain white. Parting the grey skin and reaching down we revealed the soft, firm, pliable matter of the earth's body, not only white, but pink and yellow, black and red. So we borrowed this wonderful substance for the morning, digging eagerly into the rocky low tide squelch.

Today's Mudlines was Tricia Dobson, Virginia Jones, Julie Menzies, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, Jo Dickson, and Sharon Jewell. It is now almost one year since our first Mudlines. What a year of discovery it has been. The island expands each time we enter a conversation with it.

Sharon JewellComment