Expulsion: On the film set of, Once upon a Time in the Centre


2008,   89 x 120cm


We travelled the old South Road several times during 1997, revisiting the Twin Caves and taping Aranye's stories. And we went nearby to Arelhe Apwerte, situated midpoint of a spectacular ovular claypan, one of three near Deep Well station homestead.


Quite a few landscape paintings came out of continuing visits to this claypan which houses Arelhe Apwerte, the mother hill, which is a breast-shaped, biscuit stack of sandstone. The story emanating from this point of the uninitiated kwekatye boys led on through Pine Gap and finished with the great rivergum standing outside the Centralian Sports Shop. The mother hill tries to detain her son from the calls of the other boys, the copse of coolabahs on the northern edge, by offering to make a tasty bread from mulga seeds, the red agates deposited in contouring rows at the hillís base. The similarity of the needle pines and rock formations linked the sites. I might add that, according to resident historian, Dick Kimber, old Walter Smith, the fully initiated Man From Arltunga, had told Dick a different version while Dick compiled the book of the same name.


The allusion here is to Masaccio's, Expulsion from Paradise, 1425-28  using the Fall, as a contemporary lapse from grace...the desanctifying of a sacred site for a film, the consistent treatment of casting blackfellows in historical, pre-contact scenarios.