Keg De Souza - Blue Haze: Awaba

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Blue Haze: Awaba follows the journey of Eucalyptus, with over 850 species, away from its culturally significant context – the Aboriginal land it comes from.  At the hands of the British it was taken from Australia and promoted for being the fastest and tallest growing hardwood including in India where over 170 species were trialled, beginning in the 1840s in the Nilgiri Hills. It quickly became the main tree planted for timber plantations. ‘Nilgiri’ literally means ‘blue mountain’, originally named for the clustered bloom of the blue flowering species Strobilanthes kunthiana, but now also radiates a blue haze due to the eucalyptus plantings. 

Eucalyptus has spread across the globe, now covering a land mass area over 22 million hectares worldwide, leading to devastating impacts such as lowering water tables and increasing fire risk. This prompts us to ask the question: What happens when these trees are removed from the Aboriginal land they grow on and the Traditional Custodians who care for them? 

A blue haze is often seen around eucalyptus forests or plantations where it occurs as the oil from the leaves combine with dust particles and water vapour which scatter short wavelength rays of lights that are predominantly blue in colour.

Blue Haze (2023) was first exhibited as part of Shipping Roots at Inverleith House and developed during a research residency at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. This is its first exhibition in Australia. Blue Haze: Awaba (2024) at MAC yapang extends the work, featuring new collaborative works with Uncle Doug Archibald and Uncle Norm Archibald sharing stories of place and returning the journey of the eucalyptus back to this continent. 

Image: Keg De Souza, Blue Haze (2023) as part of Shipping Roots at Inverleith House. Image courtesy of the artist. 
















  • Friday, 13 December 2024 | 09:00 AM - Saturday, 08 February 2025 | 03:00 PM


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