Allen Koppe – Aftermath “A Burnt Landscape”

By February 10, 2021 No Comments

The Australian landscape has been a vehicle for story telling for thousands of years. Early indigenous artists would depict the landscape when telling stories of the Dreamtime. These stories represented a narrative of both the spiritual and the known world.
Following white settlement, European artists work represented their own experience of the landscape. Often the power of these art works would express a spiritual connection or an abstract reflection of the landscape.

In late 2019 and early 2020 Australia suffered devastating bush fires Approximately 186,000 square kilometres of land was destroyed including 2,779 homes. 34 people were killed in the fires and many more were seriously injured suffering physical and severe emotional distress. It is estimated that over a billion animals were killed and some endangered species may have been driven to extinction. There is little doubt that global warming is a major contributing factor to the ever increasing cataclysmic effects the fires are having on our environment.
I traveled to two fire affected areas, the High Country surrounding the NSW Snowy Mountains and to the heavily impacted Kangaroo Island. What lay before me was absolute devastation. The fires striped the environment bare uncovering the ancient bones of the landscape. The scale of the destruction was so vast, how could I fit what lay before me into the window of my lens? With time and many failures, ideas, thoughts and feelings amalgamated and I could start to visualise imagery that would tell this story.
I chose to use a variety of photographic techniques for this series, often including collage to reassemble my images and create a unique visual language. My imagery is inspired by both Australian Indigenous and European artists who were able to capture the space between reality and the mythical.

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