Water[Shed] at Bett Gallery in Hobart,
From the Bett Gallery Website: 50 Artists. 50 Years.
water[shed] is an exhibition conceived by OUTSIDE THE BOX / Earth Arts Rights and presented in collaboration with Bett Gallery to support the Restore Pedder campaign.
The staging of the water[shed] from 18 February – 12 March 2022 coincides with the 50th anniversary of the last heart-breaking summer in 1972 when dams on the Huon and Serpentine Rivers were closed and the impounded waters began to rise. Lake Pedder along with over 242 square kilometres of wild landscape in the heart of lutruwita (Tasmania) was swallowed up. The original lake is not forgotten.
This 50-year anniversary of loss also coincides with the first year of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030.
water[shed] brings together 50 Australian and international artists exploring the ideas of ecosystem restoration, re-wilding grief, loss and celebration of the original Lake Pedder.
The exhibition will retain 30% of the generated revenue from sales of works and these funds will be donated to the Restore Pedder campaign.
Hypolimnus Pedderensis, 2021 oil on linen, 107 x 91.5cm
About the work, Hypolimnus Pedderensis, 2021
A profound feeling of loss echoes in the black void of Pedder Dam. After a visit there in 2021, I tried to find out what I could about the webs of life shattered and gone from this place. Taking particular interest in the extinct Lake Pedder earthworm Hypolimnus pedderensis, I read that only a single specimen was ever collected, the summer before the lake was consumed. We can only presume that when the lake flooded that winter, the last of the species were drowned. That was June 1972, the same month I was born.
In the absence of images of the worm online, I returned to Lutruwita/Tasmania in May to witness the lone specimen with my own eyes, suspended in ethanol in the bowels of a museum. As I studied this tiny deceased body, capturing images and drawings, I had in mind certain late paintings of Caravaggio, shortly before his death: his depiction of the quest for empirical, visceral knowledge in The Incredulity of Saint Thomas; and the The Raising of Lazarus, with not only its analogous narrative, but the corporeal frailty with its golden shimmering skin.