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Listening Close - Joan of Arc

Joan Kelly
Oil on linen • 185 × 185 cm

My work focused on the burnt trees of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, Central Plato Conservation Area near Lake Mackenzie. The 2015-2016 seasonal fires were a longer in duration because of a continued draught. As a result, fires reached the alpine level of the mountains where the forests are up to 1500 years old consisting of large amounts of Pencil Pines. Whole forests are blackened charcoal. I found a very large old tree, burnt as the other trees in the area, surrounded by younger trees. I chose to paint this tree, naming “her” “Joan of Arc” after my own name and the French Catholic Saint that was burnt at the stake by the English in Rouen in 1431. “Listen Close, Joan of Arc” is depicted communicating to her kin, passing on her wisdom of survival. I worked from many drawings of the burnt trees as references and photographs. Here is the grid reference for Joan of Arc if you are interested in trekking out to see her: 448459 easting/ 5380999 northing