Pandanus fruit, timber and leaves imprints LINES 2012








Saturday, 30 June, was the last day of LINES in the SAND and the first morning that we woke to a clear day. It was great to see the pastel tones of a sunrise (when previously there was thick cloud cover). We head out early in pursuit of new art, scrambling down the stairs from the surf club to the rocks that border Main Beach. The water has been here very recently, and the rocks are awash with tiny plastic debris, a spray of artificial colour scattered over the rough and craggy surfaces. At the base of the headland we find a large tear-shaped form of stacked cut Pandanus timber, studded with the vibrant yellow-coloured fruit. At its highest point is a crown of sharp rocks. With the headland and the remaining Pandanus trees behind and the surf beach stretching in front, it is a site with an extraordinary view yet feels protected with its embrace by the headland behind.

Interestingly, the Pandanus is a defining material for many of the sculptures constructed for LINES in the SAND. Michael Bulloch’s Pandanus Tear notes the mystery of the rapid decline and death of these trees, noting their role as a barometer of change in their particular environment.

Another new work from Anaheke Metua in the cleft of north gorge uses the yellow Pandanus fruit to create a spiral. Its pattern and form reminds me of the feeding behaviour of the mantas seen in the Manta Mysteries film, also part of the festival. Footage of manta rays in the Maldives describe a rarely-seen food ballet. The mantas, feeding on a high concentration of plankton, work co-operatively, swimming in a circular formation that forms a vortex that increases dramatically the quantity of plankton that they may each gulp down. The intelligence of this animal is brought back to me in Anaheke’s adoption of this pattern in nature, so close to where mantas may be seen in the ocean from the Gorge Walk on the Point Lookout headland.

Anaheke also constructed an evocative jellyfish in Pandanus leaves that we see in progress during our morning walk. When we head back at dusk, the curved leaves she has selected have become tendrils that speak to the transparency of the jellyfish despite their robust materials. After her week as weaver in residence, working with the Quandamooka women to gather local traditional materials for the first time in twenty years and restoring a weaving tradition that they had lost, her work to reestablish these skills may be seen as the 2012 LINES most significant achievement. Her artistry in both areas – personal and cultural – was quietly achieved and beautiful to witness.