Lake Suite was a visual and musical interpretation of life around Lakes Mungo, Hattah and Hawthorn. It explored the environmental, social and cultural significance of these lakes with deep connections across place and time. The project included an artist residency and evolving exhibition over three-weeks at The Art Vault complex in Mildura. The local community was encouraged to engage with the developing exhibition and influence its outcome. People of various ages, interests and expertise contributed to the work, joining excursions and workshops; telling stories of their connections to one or more of these lakes; and visually expressing their stories in their contributions to the cloaks. The form of the cloak was chosen as an ideal repository of memories, allowing expression not only of outer, public narratives, but also of inner, often hidden and more personal stories. The event included a performative introduction of each cloak by a member of the local community along with a musical presentation of Lake Suite composed for the project by Ben Rogers, Nikki Scarlett & Jack Rogers.
The exhibition was presented at The Art Vault in Mildura from 15 May – 3 June 2013, with the special event held on Saturday 1 June 2013 from 4-5pm.
Local artist Carmel Wallace’s practice focuses on a multi-disciplinary exploration of place in the context of environmental awareness and ethics. She has a PhD in this field (Deakin 1999). Carmel has undertaken a number of residencies, both internationally and in Australia, including SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory at the University of WA dedicated to life sciences. Her research there focused on the environment of Lake Clifton and is currently part of the national touring exhibition, Adaptation. Carmel employs a variety of media in her artwork, including sculpture, installation and printmaking. She has completed a number of public artworks and has worked in a community context for several projects including Illuminated by Fire (Regional Arts Victoria 2010-2011).
An Essay by Neil Fettling. Critical reflections on Lake Suite by Carmel Wallace
The cloak has been an important garment within many cultures and societies over thousands of years. In cool climates the practical requirement to keep warm and to protect the wearer from cold, rain and wind is central to their function. However the cloak in all its adaptions and manifestations is more than an overcoat of convenience; instead, it embodies rich cultural and symbolic associations.
Metal for Water – Major Mitchell and Captain Sturt Exploring the Murray-Darling Mile by mile over red dirt Exchanging their iron tools For water and safe passage Stone now cast aside This the new message For we all wear cloaks . . . This cloak, covered with metal bottle-tops and including a fox-fur, references introduced […]
Talismans for Dreamtime – 40,000 years ago Fishing for cod and perch On the edge of Lake Mungo Warm in their possum skins Under the Murray Pines Men, women, children Living round the shore-lines For we all wear cloaks . . . In making a work evocative of Lake Mungo, with its extraordinary significance in […]
Carmel Wallace’s Lake Suite project was beautifully enhanced by a trio of musicians. Originally from Sunraysia, Melbourne-based guitarist Ben Rogers composes and performs instrumental music ranging from Django Reinhardt-inspired gypsy jazz through to 1960s influenced surf-rock. His trio Ben Rogers’ Instrumental Asylum, with Nikki Scarlett on bass guitar and Denis Close on drums, has released […]