This painting reflects upon current environmental crises, particularly in relation to Tasmania’s lost natural habitats and its extinct or threatened plants and animals. It borrows the format of Tasmania’s 1917 coat of arms and refers to the motto inscribed beneath, Ubertas et Fidelitas (Fertility and Faithfulness).
The two Tasmanian Tigers display, in place of the coat of arm’s original symbols of industry and agriculture, an art historical symbol of fertility – Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde (The origin of the world, 1866). Set against a brown landscape decimated after decades of exploitation by the agricultural and forestry industries, the painting heralds a land stripped of life. The optimistic “fertility and faithfulness” of a hundred years ago has here been replaced by a barren landscape governed by avarice and neglect.