Glover Art Prize 2023 – Samantha Beau

Beau_Samantha_Van Diemen versus Kunanyi

Kunanyi (AKA Mt Wellington) is a Tasmanian jewel, warming Hobart in its lap.

The mountain is a sacred place for our First Nations Peoples where souls upon dying, ascend to the summit to leave the earth.

In recent years, a cable car to the top has been proposed leading to fierce debate.

For the first time since European Settlement, this was one show down that the indigenous Tasmanians, Nipaluna, and nature lovers alike, were going to win.

To put a cable car on this magnificent fascade would not only be harmful to the fauna, flora and romantic mystic of the mountain, but would leave a large human stain.

The armwrestle fell in favour of Nipaluna and naturalists. This historic battle is depicted in the painting.

Best viewed from a few metres back one can see the interplay of the new versus the old. Commercialism versus tradition. European settlers versus Nipaluna.

In the bottom left, protagonists of Van Diemen’s Land, with sums and affluence, battling for the cable car. In the bottom right, the Nipaluna dangling hanged yet shrouded in a nun’s cape in an ironic twist of advocacy.

Meanwhile the mountain, Kunanyi, depicted with loose suggestive brush strokes, looks down on the human battle standing majestic and strong.