RECENT EXHIBITION ~ ROSSANA ORLANDI
9 - 14 APRIL 2019 ~ SALONE DEL MOBILE, MILANO, ITALY
For the Salone del Mobile in 2019, the Pankalangu Wardrobe from the Broached Monsters Collection was exhibited with Galleria Rossana Orlandi in Milano, Italy.
Australia was England’s last great conquest. With colonial possession came the right to imagine, in anticipation of populating the country, what amazing creatures resided there. Fabulous creatures of incredible proportions and improbable anatomy filled the void of knowledge.
Fear of imaginary creatures gained fuel when early British colonists had sustained contact with Indigenous Australians and learned of local folkloric creatures. In Australia’s unforgiving natural environment these monster stories served a purpose, to warn that the wilderness is not benign.
Early monster stories represent a point of cultural confluence for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This is what attracts Trent Jansen to them, as the intersection of indigenous and non-indigenous narrative is a focal point of a design practice that aims to foster a new Australian culture of hybrid stories, informed by both Indigenous Australian and European traditions. Broached Commissions, Australia’s leading narrative driven design studio, has a long standing relationship with Trent Jansen and supported this show as it epitomised a shared interest in how the past informs the present.
Two creatures are represented in Broached MONSTERS: The Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay and the Pankalangu: Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay is an English myth formed after Captain Cook reported back to England of his brief experience of the Australian eastern coast, prior to British colonisation in 1788. Just as many convicts thought it was possible to walk from Sydney to China, and died trying, so too many arrived thinking a giant of nine feet tall, with a broad face, deathly eyes and a coat of long, sparse wiry hair was a real creature to be feared.
This Big Foot of the antipodes probably occupied the minds of many early settlers who tried to rest, surrounded by the sounds of animal stirrings in the pitch dark bush, on their first nights spent in the new colony.
Pankalangucomes from Arrernte Country in the Northern Territory of Australia. Trent Jansen was introduced to the story by Baden Williams, an Arrernte elder who assisted Trent in his research on Indigenous Australian mythical creatures. Pankalanguis one of three groups of creatures whom frequent Western Arrernte Country. He is a territorial being that lives in the scrub and is completely camouflaged in the desert and bush. Pankalangumoves with the rain, and is made visible when the water droplets falling over his body are caught by the light, defining his form in a glistening silhouette. Our Hairy Wild Man born from afar and the rain gliding Pankalanguare the two protagonist creatures of this Broached MONSTERS Collection, embraced to make sense of a hugely jarring collision between two cultures.
Words by Lou Weis.
Galleria Rossana Orlandi,
Via Matteo Bandello 14,
9 – 14 April 2019
Image Credit – Michael Corridore