October 19, 2012
The touring Life in Your Hands: art from solastalgia is currently at Goolwa South Australia. Solastalgia is defined by Professor Glenn Albrecht as homesickness experienced without leaving home. It is an emplaced or existential melancholia experienced with the negative transformation (desolation) of a loved home environment.
Allan Chawner, Upper Hunter region, Coal Mine
Solastalgia refers to negative change in a place in which people become disempowered and separated from the very place perceived as home. Physical and mental health deteriorates due to an accumulation of adverse conditions.
The exhibition addresses issues such as drought, living under Sydney’s flight paths, the environmental stress of the barrier reef, the lasting issues surrounding the stolen generations, and the effect of ‘ghost nets’ in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The Chawner photograph refers to open-cut coal mining in the Upper Hunter, the extent of which by the late 1990s, was in excess of 500 square kilometres and had changed the landscape in ways that older traditions of underground mining did not.