An image of untitled (illuminated tree)

Jonathan Jones

(Australia 1978 – )

Sydney, South-east region
Language group
Wiradjuri, Southern Riverine region, Kamilaroi, Northern Riverine region

untitled (illuminated tree)

Not on display
Further information

'The south-east of Australia is defined by the Murray–Darling River system. The country’s largest network of rivers, seasonal creeks, wetlands, floodplains and billabongs, it is the most fertile and resource-rich area of Australia. For countless generations the region has supported many different nations, their languages, people and ceremonies. The freshwater system connects nations like Kamilaroi at the top of the catchment to Ngarrindjeri where the river meets the sea. Stands of red gums line the banks of the rivers, with canoes made from their bark crafted to navigate the environment. This region was one of the first to be colonised, with diseases such as smallpox carried along the river ahead of any contact with white people, severely decimating the population. Lands were conquered, the rivers dammed and diverted, wetlands drained and bodies dumped in the river. This lifeline to the region has waned in recent years. Dollars are valued more than life. Once a trope of colonial painting, used to frame the western imagination in this vast landscape, the gum tree has fallen. Caked in white ochre, the tree traces the memory of the river, creating an Aboriginal framework that challenges the western perspectives that have been imposed on an Australian setting.' Jonathan Jones 2018

Place of origin
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cultural origin
Kamilaroi, Northern Riverine region, Wiradjuri, Southern Riverine region
wood, electrical cables, lighting
installation dimensions variable, approx. 12000.0 x 400.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of Gene and Brian Sherman 2017. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
© Jonathan Jones