Last month, the Australian environmental history community lost a great friend, artist and scholar, Mandy Martin.
Emeritus Professor Tom Griffiths, former Director of the Centre for Environmental History, penned a beautiful tribute to Mandy’s work and her immense contribution to the field, which featured in Inside Story.
Great art breaks down barriers and opens minds, liberates people to see and feel in new ways. It is an effective political tool because it transcends politics. Mandy’s opening trio of environmental projects focused on settler lore and aesthetics, on the wisdom as well as failings of imported environmental visions in Australia. Her painting practice mobilised and elaborated traditions within the history of art: plein air painting, artists’ camps and documentary and scientific expeditionary art. Her work connected in this way not only with the likes of Ludwig Becker, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Conrad Martens and Eugene von Guérard, but also with the camps of the Heidelberg School, the multi-disciplinary expeditions of Russell Drysdale and John Olsen, and the immersive materiality of John Wolseley.– Tom Griffiths, ‘The Beauty and The Terror: Mandy Martin, Australian artist’, Inside Story, August 6, 2021