Reckless Bucketeers


Cynthia Schwertsik and Janine Mackintosh




Digital Photograph


“I feel the gap between the conceptual world that we humans have built and the reality of the real world we live in is growing exponentially. I find myself attempting to capture in images what human contemporary lifestyle looks like from an outside perspective. The way we saw off the branch we are sitting on while refusing to notice the effect of our actions is quite absurd. Still, the humour in this absurdity is a straw I can hang on to; laughing as a way to Dhawun Guwaala-y – conversing with earth.” Cynthia Schwertsik

“In November 2020 Cynthia came to Kangaroo Island and together we explored landscape issues, particularly the incremental catastrophe of water. Like much of Australia, the island suffers from salinity caused by excessive vegetation clearance; once thriving bio-rich wetlands and lagoons, like mine, have been reduced to smelly, salty death zones. We’d previously spent time together in the South East of the state, where vast ephemeral wetlands have been drained to the sea to make way for monocultures. And the mismanagement of the Murray River, where I was born and raised, looms as an environmental tragedy on a grand scale. Meanwhile the Olympic Dam Mine extracts 42 million litres of ancient water every day from the Great Artesian Basin, threatening the unique mound springs ecology. Water is a precious resource in the driest state of the driest continent on earth, yet since colonial settlement, it has been traded, squandered and ruined with reckless abandon. This photograph is our response: figures washed up on a salty shore, with heads in tin buckets, having seen or heard no evil, or spoken against it.” Janine Mackintosh