Early morning north west Tasmania

This painting is based on an early morning view captured by the artist near Marrawah in north west Tasmania.

Southern Elephant Seals have lived around in southern regions of the world for thousands of years. Though hunted to the brink of extinction a century ago, populations have since recovered and the seals are no longer considered endangered.

In this painting, the Southern Elephant Seal reasserts its presence by parking itself centre stage before a herd of cattle, a comparatively recently introduced species to the Tasmanian landscape.

Elephant seals do appear occasionally in Tasmania, so the image does not represent an entirely impossible scenario. The painting continues, however, the artist’s interest in creating unexpected juxtapositions of forms and characters to comment on ideas around colonisation, contested histories and the primacy of the natural over the human world.

Rodney Pople


oil and archival ink on linen