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A Snippet of the Wanderings of Turtle Island

by Cesco Vascio

Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia

During the two driest & warmest seasons of the six season year of the Whadjuk Noongar Aboriginal nation, Birak and Bunuru, a Cape School Impressionaist-influenced artist named Vascio came to his first southwestern Australian summer, largely because the clime would prove conducive to discreetly camping while plein air painting. In this high heat and low humidity, his personally handground oil paints, as expected, would polymerize faster, enabling Vascio to constructively stack and carry pieces still in progress.

Offsite Exhibition:
27 February, 2020
Moana Hall

Vascio promptly serialized studies of the first cast bronze sculpture he remembers noticing, which commemorated 17th century Dutch cartographer Willem de Vlamingh. A few days into depicting said sculpture, Vascio noticed & read its adjacent sign, which he felt offered a blinkered and self-misleading, if not downright false presentation of historical event, as he took sharp existential issue with a single word choice: "discovery".

Thus (microcosoming the momentum of a project underway for about two decades, called "The Wanderings of Turtle Island " ),Vascio drafted an eccentric vacillation between essay and anecdote, "unpacking", teasing out or playing with the implications of such surreally delusional imperial pretense, eventually enscribing said literary exploration upon the visual exploration of the metal representation of the aforementioned explorer.


One might say that all humans with perceptive capacity inherently discover their surroundings, regardless of specialized division of labor or political paradigm. One might say a plein air fine visual artist rediscovers their chosen motif anew in each moment of ever refreshing scrutiny . . . however the writing upon these paintings comedically acknowledges that a certain strain of eurocentricity surely proclaimed "discovery" in a more insidious untenability.


Yet, as any adherent of a self-determination struggle tends to understand, the most scathingly incisive or accurate critique of an oppressor or invader, by itself, leaves an incomplete picture . . .


Vascio had admired a certain semi-abstracted & ferrous oxide exteriored indigenously themed sculpture of a "wirin" for quite few days before deciding to similiarly serialize it with his signature media. After initially declining due to concern of getting overrun by the hustling flushes of foot traffic characterizing so many hours upon Yagan Square, he spotted a tiny, less-busy corner between an upraised mulch bed a stairway immediately aside the compellingly manifest vision of a wirin, and knew he had found an angle to bring aesthetic and conceptual "symmetry" to those previous images of de Vlamingh.

While the first series bears low-chromatic and cool profile against distant foliage, indicating a historic individual of colonialism, the second, bears higher-chromatic and warm foreshortening against the sky, indicating a suprahistorical ideation of indigenity.

With respect to the sculptor of the latter inspiration, we quote the sculpture's plaque in full:

      "'Wirin' is the Noongar word for spirit and represents the eternal sacred force of creative power that connects all life of boodja (mother earth). The nine-meter sculpture expresses this cultural spirit knowledge in a tall, strong, suggestive yet unmistakable Aboriginal figure with smooth contemporary lines. His spear on one side and mirra (spear thrower) connect his line to the earth, depicting the unity and connective continuity of spirit. Wirin was created by Tjyllyungoo - Lance Chadd and sculpted in collaboration with the art services from Trish Robinson and Stuart green (Big Soon Art Service)."

With the onset of a sudden downpouring thunderstorm from the wetter Whadjuk Noongar season of Djeran, Vascio's plein airing halted and a previously nutured desire to resurface this microcosom of "The Wanderings". Premediatedly
staging and photographing these pieces within architecture of the city of their genesis appropriately concluded a phase.  

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