Pamela See
2021 A dialogue between Chinese and Australian women artists


Burning River landscape papercuts inform investors about the nature of the land that they purchase. Depicted in these two compositions are a critically endangered Murray River Cod and a threatened Black necked stork.

Stork and fish symbolise longevity and fiscal wealth respectively in Chinese culture. The water is depicted burning due to coal fracking, a phenomena caused by environmental degradation…

Iron Ore represents the Citic Iron-ore Mine at Cape Preston in Western Australia. Depicted amongst the mining equipment is a Bush Stone Curlew whose environment is affected by the mining activities. Curlew does not have a place in Chinese mythology.

However, for some Indigenous Australians, it is reputed that their calls at night announce a forthcoming death… All That Remains are approximations of fossils of the Howard River Toadlet, a species endemic to the River in the Northern Territory. It is classified as vulnerable. The population has been placed under duress by habitat destruction from sand mining…The paper effigies were from For Tomorrow’s Ancestors were inspired by Philip K Dick’s notion of a dystopian future where organic organisms and materials have become rare and highly sought after commodities.

Paper effigies developed around the sixth century to address grave robbery by creating replications of objects as offerings. Although the fish is a symbol for fiscal prosperity for the Chinese, in this instance it has been represented as a gift to tomorrow’s ancestors due to overfishing in our oceans. Will there continue to be fish in the sea? These papercut effigies were constructed embracing the concepts of Leon Battista Alberti during the fifteenth century. He believed that all objects had a surface and that all pictorial representations constituted windows. The twentieth century writer, Erwin Panofsky, described perspective drawings as slices of reality. To reconstruct these objects in paper, she cut their surfaces from many perspectives and then joined them back together.

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