Matt Kilby

Blazing banksia

Image of artwork

Highly commended

2020
mixed media on cradled wooden panel
70 x 60 cm

The devastating effects of the Currowan bushfire on the Shoalhaven’s flora left the landscape with a surreal nature. I felt a connection with the plant-life, how the trees were bearing their scars from the fires, but tiny green shoots showed the beginning of new life. A banksia tree, with its burnt tree trunk and branches captivated me. Looking at it gave me the sense that I could feel its pain. The suffering from being ‘ravaged by raging fire’, yet there it was, a survivor, with new growth happening. I pondered the connection between it and myself, both scarred. The scarring for the Banksia was physical, whereas for me it’s invisible mostly (PTSD).

This artwork is 2D relief mixed media. It is an exploration of regeneration/regrowth after disaster. ‘Blazing’ in the title (outstanding power, speed, heat, or intensity) is a metaphorical likeness that I can draw to my life. The creative process involved recreating the plant using individually handcrafted and painted clay parts on an alcohol ink background. A puzzle-like construction and then embedded in layers of resin, to protect and finish the work.

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