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31 artists

Harijs Piekalns

About the work

The form for ‘Manifest Submersion’ is based on the Latvian folkloric symbol for the Earth Goddess, Mara, a repeating right-angled zig-zagged geometric motif which arose some 6,000 years ago during the Neolithic Period and is common to many cultures worldwide.

Walter Burley Griffin’s Plan for Canberra transformed many elements of the original topography to accommodate the needs of his design. A major feature of the city is Lake Burley Griffin, created by flooding the original course of the Molonglo River, along with many of its geological features and subsuming Aboriginal sites of significance.

The design at the base of the sculpture was suggested by Wally Bell, Director, Buru Ngunnawal Aboriginal Corporation, Canberra. and is an interpretation of the Ngunnawal symbol for water or a water course.

The mirrors in the centre of the work orient towards these now submerged ceremonial sites at the base of Black Mountain. Our current topographical reality is a construct which acts to obscure sites of significance for local First Nations Peoples.

Welded and folded 304 ‘Super Mirror’ 1.2mm stainless steel. Fabricated by Steel 4 You, Queanbeyan, NSW.
Base constructed with re-cycled Black Butt Australian hardwood.

The Aboriginal motif representing water, seen on the base, was proposed by Wally Bell, Director, Buru Ngunnawal Aboriginal Corporation, Canberra.

The yellow ochre originates from the Yarralumla Brickworks. The black ochre (magnetite) is from the Far South Coast of NSW.

The pigments were ground in an emulsion of egg yolk, linseed oil, saponified beeswax and water.
The painting was sealed with Northane 2 pack aliphatic linear polyurethane.

Photo courtesy of the artist

About the artist

Harijs Piekalns is currently completing a postgraduate Master of Visual Arts (Advanced) in painting at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Canberra. His past practice has utilised a variety of techniques including photography, sculpture, holography and site- specific installations.

His practice seeks to combine elements of his Latvian heritage and those of Aboriginal cultures to reflect his sense of place in Australia. He uses Latvian runic symbols as a basis for geometric abstraction. He has been drawn to utilise ochres as pigments in his work and sees each ochre as maintaining a tacit link with the landscape of its origin. Ochre is currency for Aboriginal people and used extensively in a wide range of practical and ceremonial applications.

  • Manifest Submersion
  • 2018
  • Sculpture