In autumn 2015 we were invited by Hawkesbury Regional Gallery to participate in a residency at the Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives (Big Ci), which is located near the small town of Bilpin, on the edge of the Wollemi National Park. The residency is run by sculptor Rae Bolotin & Yuti Bolotin a wilderness explorer, author and environmentalist. The work resulting from our time there was included in a survey exhibition of artists involved in the residency for Hawkesbury Regional Gallery’s tenth anniversary.
Even though we live in the Blue Mountains and therefore have some familiarity with the local environments, the opportunity to spend time at BigCi gave us the chance to approach our movements through the landscape with the defined quality of intention that a residency can provide. From our first walks through the BigCi property and surrounds we were struck by its wildness, following Yuri along barley defined paths so unlike the clearly defined hiking trails we had experienced in the near by National Park. This feeling was amplified when we came back without Yuri, at times retracing our steps, at times a little lost and having to find our way with help from markers in the landscape – a fallen log, an abandoned art installation, a particular arrangement of trees. Through these days of wandering we felt some empathy for early explorers in their experience if not their ambitions. This feeling of being lost in a place we were yet to understand, so far removed from our safe domesticity, building maps and surrounding ourselves with talismans to help us through the unknown.