Raquel Ormella



 

 

For my action I decided to drive the road from Braidwood to Nerriga on Yuin Country. I choose this road because it follows the western edge of the large Currowan fire that devasted the Buddawang National Park and Shoalhaven area 12 months ago. I had never driven this road, but as the Nerriga Road moves through private property I knew it would map a variety of human-made and maintained ecologies: cleared woodland, pine plantation, remnants of a tall eucalyptus forest, and the farming locality of Nerriga. I wanted the documentation to allow you to experience some of this trip and the embodied knowledge this action enabled.

Since 2002 I have used the role of a field naturalist and the activity of bird watching to frame my encounters with the more-than-human world within artworks. Positioning myself as an amateur and an enthusiast attunes my observation to see the detail of what is present, in order to witness and record the mass extinction we are living through. The drought, fires and devasting hailstorms of the 2019/2020 summer accelerated loss of both the mass and diversity of non-human life. This action is one small moment where I try to record this ongoing disaster.

Artist bio

Raquel Ormella works across a wide range of media, including posters, banners, videography and textiles. Key themes in her practice include: social and environmental activism; human and animal relationships; nationalism; and national identity. Her solo survey exhibition I hope you get this, curated by Rebecca Coates and Anna Briers, was launched at Shepparton Art Museum in 2018 and toured nationally until early 2020.

Raquel is a high-profile Australian artist and has been exhibiting regularly in international exhibitions since 1999 including many international biennials such as the Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2015; the California-Pacific Triennial, USA, 2013; Aichi Triennial, Japan, 2010; the Biennale of Sydney, 2008; the Biennale of Istanbul, Turkey, 2003; and the São Paulo Biennale, Brazil, 2002. She has received multiple grants and prizes from Australian funding bodies such as the Australia Council for the Arts and the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, 2017.

Currently her work is included in Know My Name, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra;
Craftivism. Dissident Objects and Subversive Forms, USC Art Gallery, Sunshine Coast, QLD, toured by Nets Victoria; and Just Not Australian, Wollongong Art Gallery, NSW, toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW. She is represented by Milani Gallery in Brisbane.

Dr Raquel Ormella is a senior lecturer at the School of Art & Design, ANU.

01.12.2020


Stop 1: First place we stop is a burnt patch of native and feral pine.

Birds I don’t hear:

🖤 The seed eaters: Eastern or Crimson Rosellas, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, King parrots

🖤 The small insectivorous birds: Yellow-rumped or Brown Thornbills, Willy Wagtails, Supberb Fairywrens, White-browed Scrubwrens

I am travelling with my friend @emma_rani who is a plant person and helping identify the weeds and native plants.

 


02.12.2020 


Stop 2: The first massive pile of burnt and cleared trees we see. There are a couple more before Nerriga.

Birds I don’t hear:

🖤 The seed eaters: Eastern or Crimson Rosellas, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, King parrots, Gang-gang Cockatoos

 


03.12.2020 

 

This scene, and the death it signals, is beyond my human grasp. I let myself feel the weight of it for only a moment before returning to looking at details. Details let me believe in regeneration.

Birds I don’t hear:

🖤 The honeyeaters: Lewin’s and New Holland Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird, Noisy Miner

🖤 The small insectivorous birds: Spotted or Striated Pardarlotes, Yellow-rumped, Buff-rumped, Striated or Brown Thornbills, Willy Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Supberb Fairywren, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow Robin

🖤 The larger lizard and insect eaters: Magpie, Currawong, Grey Butcher-bird, Australian Raven

🖤 The seed eaters: Eastern or Crimson Rosellas, King parrots, Gang-gang Cockatoos

 


04.12.2020 

 

Stop 4: We turn off onto a newly-graded road – was this here before the fire?

From the high point we get a distant view of blackened forest.

Birds I don’t hear:

🖤 The honeyeaters: Lewin’s and New Holland Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird, Noisy Miner

🖤 The small insectivorous birds: Spotted or Striated Pardarlotes, Yellow-rumped, Buff-rumped, Striated or Brown Thornbills, Willy Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Supberb Fairywren, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow Robin

🖤 The seed eaters: Eastern or Crimson Rosellas, King parrots, Gang-gang Cockatoos

🖤 The closed-forest birds: Brown Cuckoo-dove, Satin Bowerbird, Fantailed Cuckoo, Kookaburra

 


05.12.2020 

 

Stop 5: We decide to stop at Nerriga. The road continues on to Nowra but this is far enough for one day.

It is open day at the Nerriga Royal Fire Service (RFS) Shed. Thank you to the community of people who support this brigade.Than

k you locals for your gardens that are supporting the diversity of birds we see and hear here.

 



Past Actions

18 Jan - 24 Jan 2021

Nici Cumpston

11 Jan - 17 Jan 2021

Johnathon World Peace Bush

07 Dec - 13 Dec 2020

Aphids

30 Nov - 06 Dec 2020

Raquel Ormella

23 Nov - 29 Nov 2020

Léuli Eshrāghi

16 Nov - 22 Nov 2020

Rolande Souliere

09 Nov - 15 Nov 2020

TV Moore

02 Nov - 08 Nov 2020

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

26 Oct - 01 Nov 2020

Ivey Wawn

19 Oct - 25 Oct 2020

Naomi Blacklock

12 Oct - 18 Oct 2020

Sancintya Mohini Simpson

05 Oct - 11 Oct 2020

Yhonnie Scarce

28 Sep - 04 Oct 2020

Ruha Fifita

21 Sep - 27 Sep 2020

Kaylene Whiskey

14 Sep - 20 Sep 2020

Adam Linder

07 Sep - 13 Sep 2020

Archie Barry

31 Aug - 06 Sep 2020

Min Wong

24 Aug - 30 Aug 2020

Hayley Millar-Baker

17 Aug - 23 Aug 2020

Erin Coates

10 Aug - 16 Aug 2020

Diego Bonetto

03 Aug - 09 Aug 2020

Tyza Stewart

27 Jul - 02 Aug 2020

Larissa Hjorth

20 Jul - 26 Jul 2020

Louise Zhang

13 Jul - 19 Jul 2020

Henri Papin (Meijers & Walsh)

06 Jul - 12 Jul 2020

Stelarc

29 Jun - 05 Jul 2020

Rainbow Chan

22 Jun - 28 Jun 2020

Jason Phu

15 Jun - 21 Jun 2020

Abdul Abdullah

08 Jun - 14 Jun 2020

Patricia Piccinini

01 Jun - 07 Jun 2020

Brook Andrew

25 May - 31 May 2020

Radha

18 May - 24 May 2020

James Tylor