The cover image for Issue 31 is a detail from Anne Graham’s installation The Gardens of Stone. This installation was part of MAPBM (Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains) FABRIK exhibition which ran from 21 November 2020 to 28 February 2021 at the Penrith Regional Gallery.
The Gardens of Stone installation grew out of a short residency at The BigCi Gallery in Bilpin, NSW, that Graham completed in 2014. During this residency Yuri and Rae Bolotin introduced her to The Gardens of Stone, the ancient “pagoda” landscapes above Lithgow, which are found nowhere else in the world, with their spectacular rock pinnacles, gorges, cliffs, waterfalls, swamps, forests and Aboriginal rock art. Aboriginal people have occupied this unique place for at least 11,000 years and Graham saw the need to draw attention to this threatened wilderness in order to help protect it from mining, off road vehicles and other threats.
The artwork itself is composed of discarded woollen blankets, steel, wood and dye. The dimensions of the work can vary as the work comprises nine units, each 610 mm x 610 mm x approximately 250 mm high. Depending on the space they may be further apart. the overall area is approximately 2400 mm x 2400 mm. Graham explains “I have used discarded woolen blankets, rubbish I suppose from our affluent society, sourced from local Opportunity Shops, I have hand cut and dyed the blankets, inspired by the contours of the Pagodas of The Gardens of Stone.”
The Lithgow Environmental Group is proposing a conference later in 2021 to consider conservation issues and raise local interest and they will be using Graham’s artwork The Gardens of Stone as a focal point for discussion.