The end of the age of entitlement  2014
pigment ink-jet print on archival cotton paper
123 x 105 cm, edition 4 + 3 A/P's


These are shadows cast by flash on photographic film without a camera. They record the struggle and flutter of live small white cabbage butterflies Pieris rapae caught in a sudden downpour of rain at night near Lake Tyrrell in the Victorian Mallee. The image, here digitally enlarged, starkly reveals a moment of suffering in the umwelt or ‘life-world’ of creatures we habitually ignore. Yet, this butterfly is an introduced species whose presence typifies the growing ecological hybridity of Australia’s remaining indigenous semi-arid landscapes. Portraying small lives indirectly and intimately highlights their delicate pathos whilst symbolizing the vulnerability of that larger life-world, the Mallee ecosystems, of which they have become a part. The artwork is part of Gathering Shadows, a project deploying the triple metaphors of physical touch, cast shadows and invertebrate abjection in order to poetically enunciate the ecological tragedy confronting particular environments – in this instance – Mallee country. This piece won the ‘2016 SCOPE Galleries Art Award for Art Concerning Environment.

— Harry Nankin