Totality | Sara Walker

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Cultures around the world have interpreted eclipses as warnings from displeased gods, gigantic creatures swallowing the sun, or arguments between celestial beings. Often, these explanations required immediate action by the entire community. Rituals were held to appease disapproving Greek gods, loud drums were played in China to scare away sun-eating serpents, and the Batammaliba of Togo would resolve their feuds to encourage the Sun and Moon to do the same. On 20 April 2023, a crowd of 22,000 converged upon Exmouth, WA to witness the Ningaloo total solar eclipse. This massive influx of visitors octupled the town’s population and required years of preparation by state and local authorities, who successfully ensured that infrastructure, supplies, and accommodation options wouldn’t buckle under demand. It seems that eclipses continue to inspire cooperation in order to avoid disaster. A starmap of the Exmouth sky and coastline during the 2023 eclipse is flanked by two imagined artefacts.

Linocut print, duck feathers, gold leaf, brass.

60cm x 50cm x 50cm

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