BLACK MIST BURNT COUNTRY: TESTING THE BOMB - MARALINGA AND AUSTRALIAN ART
'Black Mist Burnt Country: Testing the Bomb - Maralinga and Australian Art' is the title of an Australian art exhibition which is concerned with the history of the British atomic tests in Australia and educates audiences about its history and legacies.
The award-winning exhibition toured regional and metropolitan public galleries in Australia from 2016-2019 and presented over 50 artworks by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, including test survivors. It has been visited by more than 100,000 visitors and has contributed directly through its exhibition, publication and programs and in-directly (through media coverage) to the education of Australians about this important topic and this dark chapter of Australian / British history.
The exhibition has at its core the story of dispossession and dislocation of the traditional owners of the Maralinga lands, the Pitjantjatjara Anangu, and the impact of the test program on their health and the environment. It also sheds light on the exposure of servicemen (British & Australian) to radiation as a result of the tests, and due to the negligence and lack of care by the authorities.
The project was developed and managed by JD Mittmann, curator, and produced by Burrinja Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre, with the financial assistance of Creative Victoria through NETS, Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government through Visions of Australia, and the private Gordon Darling Foundation. The project has been supported by Pitjantjatjara Anangu in Yalata and Oak Valley/Maralinga, and was presented in partnership with Yalata Aboriginal Community. It was endorsed by Mr Yami Lester, Wallatinna.
The exhibition was the result of several years of research, planning and development. Its website provides a variety of resources for learning and education about the impact of atomic tests on people and environments. It gives Nuclear Test Veterans a voice and provides a platform for understanding and lobbying. By association with Nuclear Veterans Worldwide and other organisations across the world, the hope is to further create understanding and acknowledgement of these events and their long lasting humanitarian costs.