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Marion, Walter and the Endangered Emerald Green Snail






The Incinerator Art Award,
October 17 – November 30, 2014
Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne

Download the Invite (pdf)



Marion, Walter and the Endangered Emerald Green Snail
July 2014
Plaster, white cement and moss
10 x 45 x 45cm (each)

Lake Burley Griffin is the centrepiece of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney’s design of Canberra. It was a central part of my childhood and I experienced the vision become a reality as the city’s soul and its trees grew. Alongside the Lake are sites where decisions are made - the ones that float in our consciousness. I consider what and who is overlooked. I research Manus Island and learn that it has a beautiful and brilliantly-coloured endangered emerald green snail. I find myself connecting the colour of the snail with moss carpeting over the cracks in in my local footpaths. How do we bring the overlooked, the disappeared and the endangered to consciousness? The work uses negative spaces of the Lake and those of Manus, Christmas and Nauru Islands. Some are filled with moss , soil from the Lake’s shore and other natural materials.



Nicola McClelland grew up not far from Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

This work considers the natural setting of the lake, its plants and animals and the philosophical ideals that were part of its creation. She contrasts this with the ideologies behind the decisions and policies that come from the Houses of Parliament and department buildings perched on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

It is a study of the oppositions between nature and culture. The Lake Burley Griffin precinct is where the natural world and political policies co-exist in and uneasy relationship.

In Marion, Walter and the Emerald Green Snail the brilliantly-coloured and critically endangered Emerald Green Snail of Manus Island is used to illustrated fragile life being further threatened by uncaring policies.

McClelland highlights the disconnect between power and policies with the quiet and often unseen wilderness. The passive and defenceless nature of the snail is related to the plight of the unseen asylum seekers who are kept out of sight on islands surrounding the mainland.

Richard Ennis ( curator of the Incinerator Art Award 2014)