The Wonderful Land of Oz, Drawings, 2012
‘The Wonderful Land of Oz’ is a large body of work that presents multiple interpretations of initial drawings and collages, which were based on Australiana calendars of native flora and fauna. The work grew out of a desire to critique the idyllic representations of the Australian landscape presented in tourism promotional material. Pristine source material was deconstructed and reconstituted with references to contemporary political, social and environmental issues in an attempt to hint at a level of contrivance.
These pencil and watercolour pieces show the beginnings of the project. They exist as stand alone works, but they are also designs for the rest of the series (photographs, a film, an interactive installation, public art and a performance). Each presents a fantasy landscape inhabited by a central figure. Animals merge with humans in this thinly veiled yet playfully absurd version of Australia, as clouds reference national identity, the Sydney Opera House goes on tour, and a Koala admires Ken Done. Looking deeper, there are hints to the spiritual and historical shape of our landscape, as an ark floats across the sea, a colonial ship sails along a river and a native Gallah merges with a Lion to create an antipodean Griffin.