Truth in Fire

Truth in Fire

Tim Georgeson + Amanda Jane Reynolds

Tim Georgeson, Requiem from the Truth in fire series, 2019-20

11 December 2020 –
30 January 2021
Monday – Friday 9:30am-4:30pm
Saturday 10am-2pm
Closed Sunday and Public Holidays (25 Dec – 1st Jan inclusive)

ACP Popup Gallery
43 Kinghorne St,
Nowra, NSW 
Free exhibition 

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of Country and their continuing connection to the land, culture and community. We offer our respect to Elders past, present and future and welcome all visitors to our exhibition.

The Australia Centre of Photography, with the support of the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, is pleased to present Truth in Fire by Tim Georgeson and Amanda Jane Reynolds, which responds to the catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20. Filmmaker and photographer Georgeson along with Reynolds, a Guringai artist living on the South Coast, have collaborated with Indigenous knowledge holders and the Firesticks Alliance to produce an exhibition that communicates the complexity and ferocity of this environmental disaster.

In the aftermath of last summer’s devastating fires in Australia, and then along the west coast of North America, there is an urgency for communities to adapt and negotiate extremes in human-created climate change. This exhibition recognises the significance of First Nations knowledge and practices as the foundation of living in greater balance within Country by managing ecologies and resources for the continuity of life.

The artists and the ACP acknowledge and thank the Yuin First Nations people of Australia for inviting them into their world and sharing their knowledge. The artists would also like to thank collaborators Aunty Vivian Mason, Ashweeni Mason, Amethyst Downing-McLeod, Noel ‘Nook’ Webster, Adrian ‘Ado’ Webster, Warren Foster Senior, Warren Foster Junior, Joel Deaves, Jacob Morris, Jordan Parsons, Mitchell Parsons and the Gulaga Dancers, Victor Steffensen, Oliver Costello and the Firesticks Alliance.

Also integral to this project is a possum skin cloak installation by Reynolds that is emblematic of contemporary cultural practices that invoke the rejuvenation of Country.

We hear the heartbeat of Country from birth, it nurtures us. Now in this time the cloaks and carvings are part of our healing practices – of us giving back to Country.  AMANDA JANE REYNOLDS

In the aftermath of last summer’s devastating fires in Australia, and then along the west coast of North America, there is an urgency for communities to adapt and negotiate extremes in human-created climate change. This exhibition recognises the significance of First Nations knowledge and practices as the foundation of living in greater balance within Country by managing ecologies and resources for the continuity of life.

Amanda Jane Reynolds

This cloak was created during nine months of mourning Country – mourning the loss of trees, plants, animals and insects whose lives were taken during the 2019-2020 bushfire. Without ceremony for the dead, the spirit struggles to rebirth, the living struggle to heal. Such is the importance of ceremonies for life, death and rebirth. When our women come together as One through our possum cloak drumming, we connect and gift our heartbeat. 

Walking through the ruins at Conjola Park, making my way to the giant Lilly Pilly trees who’d held me, held my home and kin in their generous arms for over a decade. Listening for their voices – nothing. Placing my palm on their trunks and offering my heartbeat, painting ochre on their blackened bark, singing for them. ‘I am sorry, so sorry’. 

A suffering Old Grandfather tree called me over to gather some of his charcoal remains: ‘please daughter – help bury our dead’. As I travelled through the aftermath of the Currowan Fire, smouldering Grandparent trees called out to me: ‘daughter, daughter, granddaughter – gather our ashes to help our dead find their pathway home’.

Stitching nine possums together in the form of an Old Scar Tree while Uncle Jimmy Little’s version of ‘Bury me deep in love, take me in under your skin, bury me deep in love’ … played in the background and the crimson rosellas sang. We remember and honour the time where earth and sky join through women long-time. 

Cry for our beautiful Country – let your tears fall on Mother Earth as a promise and pledge of honour to our giant Ancestor trees, bushland, animals, plants, rivers and oceans. 

Tim Georgeson

The Truth in Fire project was fuelled by my passion to work with First Nations Fire Keepers and an Indigenous Council to help tell a much-needed story that benefits all humans, all life, and our survival on planet earth. Australian First Nations people have been working with fire as its custodians for tens of thousands of years to protect and fertilise country, and to prevent climate disaster. Witnessing their fire story in their own words, by their own people, in their own lands opens a secret world and offers a new worldview that could positively impact our struggle with climate crisis and global survival.

Left in the wake of this catastrophic event, we move from death ­– the Requiem – to the Renaissance of new life and rebirth that the life cycle always brings. Inside these apocalyptic landscapes and transformational ceremonies, we engage with the First Nations’ connection to Country and feel the importance of trusting the wisdom of their ancient practices.

Truth in Fire hopes to inspire cross-cultural understanding, support international climate movements and give a push for new legislation that allows for First Nations people to participate in important ecological decision-making around crucial survival issues.

The Works

Amanda Jane Reynolds

Possum cloak for Currowan  2020

Possum skins, ochre, charcoal, resin, plant material, wood and synthetic sinew

Tim Georgeson

Truth in Fire series  2020

Requiem
Renaissance
Untitled #1-11         

Colour inks on paper

Requiem for a forest
Anthropomorphosis

Two single-channel, HD moving image, with sound. Duration: 4:44 min

Pyrogenesis

Single-channel, HD moving image, with sound. Duration: 3:08 min

Director: Tim Georgeson
Editor: Andrew Holmes
Sound Designer: Andrew Holmes
Sound Design on Requiem: Andrew Holmes + Zane Whitfield
Music Composition: Hania Rani
Colour Grade: Matt Fezz
Drone Camera, Requiem for a forest: Luke Simpson
Drone camera, Anthropomorphosis:  Matthew Abbott
Director of Photography, Anthropomorphosis: Zachary Peel McGregor
Director of Photography, Pyrogenesis: Tim Georgeson
Camera Gear: Tim Tregoning
Camera Assistant: Luke Tysoe and Jed Simkins

Exhibition Partners

This exhibition is supported by the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, Nowra.

Images
Tim Georgeson, Truth in Fire series, 2019-20

Requiem, 2019
Colour inks on paper

Still from Requiem for a forest, 2020
Single channel, HD moving image, with sound. Duration: 4:44 min

Still from Anthropomorphosis, 2020
Single channel, HD moving image, with sound. Duration: 4:44 min

Still from Pyrogenesis, 2020
Single channel, HD moving image, with sound. Duration: 4:44 min

All images courtesy and © of the Artist

About the Artists

Tim Georgeson is an Australian filmmaker, photographer, visual artist and creative director. Over his career Georgeson has documented disaster zones, rock concerts and street life across the world. His creative force and insight into the human condition contribute to his extending and merging the boundaries of art and documentary at a time of digital change and media free-fall.

Creating emotionally powerful work, Georgeson has been celebrated in the media, the arts and the commercial world with acknowledgments and awards from World Press Photo, Leica Camera, International Centre for Photography (New York) and National Geographic. Georgeson has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in France, UK, Japan, Holland, Canada, USA and Australia. His work is held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, as well as many private collections. The artist is represented by Exit Films, and Olsen Gallery, Sydney.

Amanda Jane Reynolds is a curator, storyteller, cloak-maker, multimedia and ephemeral artist who specialises in community-based collaborations. Her practice encompasses cultural healing and connection programs, as well as writing texts, songs and multi-voiced narratives for exhibitions, multimedia and publications. Reynolds’ heart and spirit are devoted to the flourishing of south eastern cultural traditions, knowledge and histories. The artist achieves this using collaborative and community empowerment models of working to transform public spaces of colonial dominance. Reynolds lives in south coast NSW and her family heritage is Guringai, British, European and African-American. 

In 2014, Reynolds was the co-curator of Garrigarrang: Sea Country for the Australian Museum. In collaboration with Genevieve Grieves, Reynolds co-curated the highly acclaimed First People’s exhibition at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum, which won awards both nationally and globally. In 2016, Reynolds and Grieves worked together again on Barangaroo Ngangamay, and exhibition at Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve that remembered and honoured the contribution of the Cammeraygal and Eora women.

Reynolds has worked with the Australian Museum, National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive. As well Reynolds collaborated with the Australian War Memorial on a ground-breaking exhibition For Country: for Nation celebrating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to the Australian Defence Force. Reynolds runs workshops with the custodians of the possum skin cloak-making traditions.