Wall Work 5: From Kamojima to Kamo Jinja, 2010
Setouchi Trienniale: Setouchi International Art Festival
Ogijima, Japan

James Darling & Lesley Forwood, Wall Work 5: from Kamojima to Kamojinja, 2010, 13.5 tonnes Mallee roots, 1.9 x 24.0 x 1.7 m, at the 2010 Setouchi Trienniale (Setouchi International Art Festival), Ogijima, Seto Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan

“On Ogijima, a must-see is ‘Wall work 5: Kamojima to Kamo Jinja’ by Australians James Darling & Lesley Forwood. The couple imported 12 tons of fumigated Australian mallee gum roots from the country’s arid landscapes for the wavelike wall installation, placed along the steps leading to the island’s shinto shrine, Kamo Jinja”

Lucy Birmingham, ‘Setouchi: the art of island hopping, Japan Times, August 6, 2010, p.17

Artists, farmers and conservationists, James Darling and Lesley Forwood, with the encouragement of Setouchi Art Director, Mr. Fram Kitagawa of Art Front Gallery, toured the islands of the Seto Inland Sea in August 2009 before putting in their proposals into the “open competition” for inclusion in the 2010 Festival.

There were 760 applications for less than 15 places and the decision deadline was extended. It was February 2010 when they receive notification of acceptance.

The artists visited Ogijima in May 2010 and were able, with the permission of Art Front Gallery and the islanders, to change their site to steep curved steps between stone arches that lead to the shinto shrine, Kamo Jinja, Shrine of Abundance.

Their concept was to make a contemporary environmental statement, referencing the sea and the stone walls of Ogijima, while bridging the ancient animistic traditions of Australia and Japan

The title of the installation ‘Wall Work 5: from Kamojima to Kamo Jinja’ continues the artist’ exploration of walls “Kamojima”, “Duck Island” is the name of the artists’ farm in South Australia and the source of the mallee roots.

Darling and Forwood have built installation artworks in many locations around the world using mallee roots, the roots of an arid land Australian eucalypt, which are sourced from their farm, Duck island, and are directly related to the social, political and environmental statements they are making. The artists created a dynamic wave alongside the steep stone steps between the torii that lead to Kamo Jinja Shrine on the island of Ogijima. The work harmonised with the island and referenced its angled rock walls, the spirit and energy of the oceans, linked the salinisation of mallee country in Australia with the salinisation of the island’s freshwater wells, and connected the animistic traditions of Shinto Japan and indigenous Australia.

Setouchi International Arts Festival: Australian Website

“It is simple. It is elemental. it expresses nature. It speaks about management, how to look after environment, how to respect the spiritual and the implacable. And how that respect generates through nature. Through the years, the seasons.

The best thing is that it is quiet, fitting. that is speaks in diverse ways. That it is a poetic moment, kinetic and still. That it is entirely different on the way up from on the way down. That it is ages old and distinctly new. That i is an evocation beyond our understanding. From times before white Australia. From mallee gums growing in those days. From the animist world. Where spirit is venerated.”

James Darling, Journal, August 21, 2010