Unearthed is an exhibition of paintings by Lynn Mack, inspired by some of the ceramic and glass artefacts excavated at Baker’s Flat. It’s part of South Australia’s History Festival, and you can find it at the entrance to the Central Library at Flinders University. If you are student or staff, you have 24 hour access and every opportunity to take a few minutes’ time out and immerse yourself in art with an archaeological twist. Lynn and I launched the exhibition yesterday, and it will be open until Saturday 13 May (now extended to 31 May).
Lynn has used some of the ceramic and glass artefacts from last year’s dig at Baker’s Flat as a catalyst for exploring her experiences as an Irish woman migrating to South Australia. There are 12 oil paintings on wood panels. Some feature small ceramic shards, with different patterns and colours. Others focus on green and brown fragments of glass.
What I love about the paintings is the memories that they echo. A glass colour or ceramic pattern is echoed in the background colours and patterns of the painting, which echo the wallpaper familiar to all Irish people of a certain age, who remember their parents’ or grandparents’ homes. The fragments of teapots echo all those cups of tea that Irish people share at the kitchen table. And where Lynn has scraped back the paint to expose the wood panel, this echoes the archaeological excavation process, where we scrape back layers to find the truth. These paintings are Lynn’s truths – about living in a new place but carrying your history with you.
Unearthed is one of seven events hosted by Flinders University during History Month, including two art exhibitions, a book launch, two public lectures, a meet and greet with archaeology students, and the showing of a documentary on the 1974 student occupation of the Registry Building on the Hub big screen. Find them all on the History Festival website by searching for flinders university in the search bar.