• mangrove forest near Wynnum, 2009, photographer – Cathy Keys

    mangrove forest near Wynnum, 2009, photographer – Cathy Keys

  • pneumatophores, 5-10cm high, Garden Point, Brisbane River, 2008, photographer -  Cathy Keys

    pneumatophores, 5-10cm high, Garden Point, Brisbane River, 2008, photographer – Cathy Keys

  • breathing roots of Grey Mangrove, Garden Point, Brisbane River, 2008, photographer -  Cathy Keys

    breathing roots of Grey Mangrove, Garden Point, Brisbane River, 2008, photographer – Cathy Keys

Silt Artist Statement

Silt was a solo exhibition of ceramics, installations and drawings inspired by mangroves. South East Queensland has a number of mangrove tree species growing along the edges of Moreton Bay and its estuaries. But for this show I focused on the most common – the Grey Mangrove (Avicenna marina var. australasica). Supported by a SignatureBrisbane grant and exhibited at Fusions Gallery, September 2009.

mangroves

When I began researching for this body of work I was first attracted to the ‘breathing roots’ (or pneumatophores) which provide these mangroves with oxygen at low tide and then filter salt when submerged at high tide. By the time I was ready to start making work, I had broadened my conceptual thinking to issues impacting on the entire water catchment of the Brisbane River.

people and environments

Mangrove forest habitats support a diversity of plant, marine and animal life. It is this diversity and its produce that attracts people. Interactions between indigenous and non-indigenous people about this unique tree have appeared in literature since the nineteenth century. Mangroves protect our shores, but are threatened by high intensity storm and hail damage or when their roots are prevented from ‘breathing’. Mangroves are most threatened by human clearing activities.

breathing roots (drawing 9)

The artwork created for Silt was concerned with issues of cultural change, settlement patterns and environmental sustainability. The collection includes ceramic works hung on the walls (W.A.S.P) but also an installation that dripped water from six earthenware vessels onto dried mud/silt bricks made from soil collected from different places along the length of the Brisbane River catchment (Catchment).