Fortifications 2018 linocut, dye, ink, coloured pigment, iridescent pigment 76.5 x 57 cm, edition 8
Benjamin Armstrong’s artwork titled Fortification is from the group Invisible Stories: Meditations on Port Essington. The nucleus to these works was the book From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories (2016) by Mark McKenna. Armstrong’s focus is on a single chapter describing the story of Port Essington, located on what is now the Cobourg Peninsula, West Arnhem Land.
In his research into the history of Port Essington, Armstrong delves deep into the physical, metaphysical and psychological history of the colonial struggle and period of cross-cultural contact. He reinterprets these events of Australia’s history at Port Essington, whilst at the same time examining how narratives are often manipulated through a particular lens, distorting perceptions of the truth. Whilst the works look back at the past, this is undertaken from a perspective seated in the present.