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Black Summer 2020 –
The Aftermath

Ben Kopilow

13.05.2021 - 5.06.2021

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Ben Kopilow, Blackened Sentinels, 2020, digital print on cotton fibre rag

Our planet is vanishingly small… and we must come to terms with being of no cosmic significance, and this means jettisoning our personal and collective egos and valuing what we have. We can no longer assume the platform of gods or dream of a unique place in their hearts. Science has forced us to look fixedly into an infinite universe and its volume dilutes special pleading to a vanishingly small and pathetic whimper. 

And yet what's left is better. No monument to the gods is as magnificent as the story of our planet; of the origin and evolution of life on the rare earth and the rise of a fledgling civilisation taking its first steps into the dark. We stand related to every one of Darwin's endless, most beautiful forms, each of us connected at some branch in the unbroken chain of life stretching back 4 billion years ... We are on our own, and as the dominant intellect we are responsible for our planet in its magnificent and fragile entirety.

- Professor Brian Cox, The Forces of Nature.

Through a series of striking digital prints, Kopilow explores the idea that the only constant in life is change. The landscapes of our treasured national parks and our connections to them seem fixed and immutable but are in fact constantly changing, ever so slowly.

Kopilow highlights the stark, haunted nature of vistas newly formed by the 2019-20 bushfires in the ACT and NSW, as well as the damage the fires caused to native flora. The artist also reminds us, however, that out of ashes comes growth, renewal and even beauty. For Kopilow, no matter how bad things become, Nature has a way of recovering and so, in turn, does the human spirit.

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