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.

Minjerribah May 2017

Minjerribah is that long, tapering protector of South Moreton Bay, the big island along which Canaipa nestles, and elongates toward the southern tip. There, the two islands end simultaneously, and a new, broad passage opens up, with South Stradbroke Island forming the other edge of this open corridor to the ocean. From Canaipa Island, we look upon Minjerribah's sheer western side, where the beaches are narrow, kept brief by tidal currents. Further north, where the bay broadens, Minjerribah's western beaches widen: Blakesley's beach, where a series of tidal wetlands break up the land, just in from the shore, then Adam's Beach, then Dunwich. On Saturday, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins welcomed nine of us to country, at Adam's Beach. We were invited to explore the beach in the spirit of respectful inquiry. In the afternoon, Delvene took us to Brown Lake. This is what Sonja Carmichael, a traditional woman and a weaver, of Mijerribah, said about this place:

"Our Jandai language word for Brown Lake is Bummiera.  For the Quandamooka people Bummiera is a place of traditional culture and learning.... and ... a sacred womens site. Tracks lead to Bummiera from Goompi, One Mile and Myora, through areas of beautiful wild flowers. As mentioned around the late 1990s  came the protection of Bummiera which was under threat from recreational and other activities.  Redland Shire Council banned motorised sports from Bummiera." 

Sharon JewellComment