Raft, Styx (Sticks)


Collection of Artist.

The Raft refers to the Kauri logging industry, that were formed once the logs had been flushed from the inland valleys, to open water. The logs were drilled and assembled to form huge herringbone rafts to be towed behind ships to local sawmills. I researched an archive of extraordinary and eloquent photographs of the ruin created by the uncontrolled industry which saw the loss of 85% of ancient kauri forest.

Embossed into the Raft are quotations from Octavio Paz and T.S.Eliot that draw parallels between the enormous loss of ancient kauri and the five rivers of Greek Mythology: Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon and Lethe.

I made several artists-books, photocopied on paper and mylar, others in salvaged kauri, about the loss of kauri forests in an attempt to exorcise the theme. This series of work, which took several years to complete, eventually culminated in the making of a video.

'In Raft, Styx (Sticks) it is the journey of the soul to the land of the dead, but also the death of the land, that is foregrounded, the journey of culture toward the death of nature. Virginia Kings works identify themselves with the cause of ecology and environmental ethics. A conscious biomorphism proclaims the splendour of generative nature. The harmonious balance of the elements, of material existence, has in all cultures been a metaphor for spiritual life.' Paul Judge, Tideline, A ten year survey, 1999.

Dimensions: Length 3000mm x Width 2000mm x Depth 50mm.

Materials: Recycled Kauri and Stockholm tarred rope, embossed text, oil paint, acrylic stains and beeswax.