Curator’s talk: JD Mittmann: The Atomic Bomb in Australian Art
Sixty years ago Australia willingly became the testing ground for Britain’s atomic ambitions – with devastating and on-going legacies. How have Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian artists responded to the events?
Tuesday, 27 September 4 pm
Book launch Elizabeth Tynan: Atomic Thunder – The Maralinga Story
In 1950 Australian prime minister Robert Menzies blithely agreed to atomic tests in Australia and relinquished control over them. In this new book Journalist and academic Elizabeth Tynan reveals the devastating consequences of that decision, and how Maralinga has continued to be shrouded in mystery decades after the atomic thunder stopped rolling across the South Australian test site. www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/atomic-thunder/
Tuesday, 27 September 6 pm
Official exhibition launch
On this day 60 years ago the British Government commenced its atomic test program at the new permanent site at Maralinga, South Australia. Marking the 60th anniversary off the atomic test the exhibition was officially opened at National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery by artist Ben Quilty. Gadigal elder Uncle Ray Davison conducted a Welcome to Country before a large crowd of invited guests.
Harry Bardwell’s 1981 landmark documentary provides detailed history of the uranium and nuclear industry in South Australia from 1910 to 1980, incorporating rare archival footage and contemporary interviews about the the effects of uranium and its products at Radium Hill, Port Pirie and the British atomic weapons test site at Maralinga. (52 mins)
Sunday, 2 October 3 pm
Screening: Australian Atomic Confessions
Compelling documentary which tells the story the British atomic bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s, while Aboriginal elders, veterans and nuclear experts discuss Australia’s current nuclear ambitions. (50 mins, followed by Q&A with director Katherine Aigner)
Sunday, 9 October 3 pm
Kate Downhill: Implosion
Kate Downhill’s paintings combine personal memories of her Cold War childhood with those of the popular culture of the Atomic Age. Kate’s father was one of the team of scientists at the Atomic Weapons Research Institute who designed and tested the British H bombs in the 1950s. Since migrating to Australia, Kate has been been producing a body of artworks in which she explores and memorialises the effects of those nuclear tests.
Sunday, 16 October 3 pm
Artist panel: Arts and Politics with artists Prof Ian Howard, Rosemary Laing, Blak Douglas
Black Mist Burnt Country exhibition artists discuss their different approaches bringing social, political and historical issues in the public arena through art.
Sunday, 23 October 3 pm
Merilyn Fairskye: The Polygon
Merilyn Fairskye (photo by Barbara Oehring)
Merilyn Fairskye creates photo and video artworks that explore the relationship between technology, atomic landscapes and community. In recent years she has visited many nuclear sites around the world, including Sellafield in the UK, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the Ukraine, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA, and The Polygon Nuclear Test Site, Kazakhstan in 2015.