Cartonography (FNQ) at The National

From March to June 2019 Cartonography (FNQ) was installed at Carriageworks, Sydney as part of The National 2019: New Australian Art curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham. Below is a screenshot of an interactive image that provides access to detailed images, catalogue entries and more information (including photos and audio interviews with farmers) for each of the cartons in the installation.

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this exhibition takes place, The Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and the Traditional Custodians of the lands from where these cartons are sourced, the lands of the Yidinji, Wanyurr Majay, Mamu, Guingay, Djiru, Jirrbal, Girramay, Muluridji, Ngadjon-Jii, and Djungan peoples, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

The carton arrangement

The cartons in this selection are those in the Cartonography collection from Far North Queensland (FNQ), Australia. FNQ is defined in this project as anywhere north of the town of Cardwell, which is about 2.5 hrs drive south of Cairns. This encompasses the areas commonly known as the Cassowary Coast, the Mareeba Shire, and the Atherton Tablelands. The cartons have been arranged according to these three regions.

Two cartons in the top left of the installation (Lakeland Plantation and Swiss Farms) are separate due to their farms’ location being significantly further north of the other cartons in the town of Lakeland (approx. 3 hours drive north of Cairns).

The section of cartons orientated on their sides represents the Mareeba Shire cartons, or those cartons from farms near the towns of Dimbulah, Mutchilba, Biboohra and Mareeba. Their arrangement is from West to East (according to their longitude coordinates), to correspond to the axis of the overall locations of farms on the map in the region (refer to red line in image 2 below).

The cartons are in this orientation to emphasise the west-east axis of the farms when looking at the map, but also because of the cartons’ base-to-height ratio (many of them are trays), which makes arrangement in column format difficult to achieve spatially.

The cartons in the lower half of the display are those from the Cassowary Coast (east of the ranges between Cairns and Cardwell), and are arranged in rows North to South (according to their latitude coordinates), also to correspond to the axis of the overall locations of farms on the map in the region (refer to green line in image 2 below).

The Atherton Tablelands cartons are located in the upper right of the display, separated slightly from those in the Mareeba Shire, and located below those are three cartons from areas near Cairns including Yarrabah and Greenhill (refer to black circle in image below for cartons on the Atherton Tablelands and the yellow circle for those near Cairns).

Image 2. Cartons’ farm locations in FNQ