Peta Clancy is a visual artist based in Australia who works with photography, bioart, video and installation.

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Project in process: The Aurelian Project

Soil is a significant matter. Wars are fought over it. In Mervyn Bishop’s powerful 1975 photograph Gough Whitlam pours soil into Vincent Lingiari’s hand during a land hand back ceremony for the Guringji people, in Northern Territory.

The Aurelian Project is a long-term project informed by research into my Aboriginal ancestry, threatened Australian species, museum collections, and the significance of soil from art and cultural perspectives. The project extends upon the Momento mori tradition. It explores threatened Australian butterfly and moth species from museum collections. Threatened specimens held in museum collections are photographed on soils from the locations that the insect specimens were originally captured from. This project explores a sense of fragility due to human impact on environment and habitat, threatened species and the complexities of maintaining specific ecosystems and environments.