Comprising four large Ilfochrome photographs and a cinema scaled 15 min. multi-channel HD projection, this solo exhibition commissioned and presented by the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery meditates on the force of the ocean, the communities whose lives are woven into it and the inescapable vulnerability of humanity.
Taking as a starting point the little known 1892 drowning of fifteen young men in Port Phillip Bay, the exhibition elicits a visceral, emotional response that is experienced as a kind of 'embodied memorial' to the loss of the 15 young lives whilst resonating powerfully with contemporary global concerns regarding hope, risk and the loss of life at sea.
The exhibition project - and the accompanying 80 page publication - is dedicated to the 15 young men who together lost their lives at sea.
Charles Ernest Allchin - 19, James Reid Caldwell - 21, William Lindsey Caldwell - 19, Hugh Caldwell -17, William Henry Coles - 23, John Comber - 31, James Firth - 17, William Edwin Grover - 25, William Grover Jnr. - 17, Charles Hooper - 35 years, Charles F. Hooper Jnr - 14, John Kenna - 18 , Alfred Herbert Lawrence - 19, George Connor Milne - 36, Charles Williams - 23.
The drowned young men were members of the local football team returning by sea from playing a game of Australian Rules Football against district rivals Mordiall
oc. The boat they were traveling in, a 28 ft fishing yawl named Process, never made it back to Mornington. All aboard perished, only four bodies were ever found.
The following is the transcript of a correspondence between the curator Danny Lacy and the artist in which the story and Hazewinkel's personal relationship to it are explored. The correspondence can also be found in the accompaning project publication. For any inquiries regarding the publication please email email@example.com
Danny Lacy - What The Sea Never Told is a new project commissioned by MPRG that takes as its starting point the tragic events of the 21st May 1892 when fifteen young men from Mornington drowned in Port Phillip Bay on their return from Mordialloc where they had gone to play a game of Australian Rules Football. It remains one of Australia’s worst sporting tragedies and it is difficult to comprehend how devastating the profound loss of fifteen young lives must have been for the small township of Mornington in 1892. How did you first become interested in this tragedy and what was the reason for wanting to make a series of artworks that respond to this event?
Andrew Hazewinkel - A sensation beyond reason, best described as a deep impulse, has remained my motivation for creating artworks in response to the loss of the fifteen young lives. I spent my boyhood, adolescence, emergent and early manhood living in Mornington. Through these ages I swam at the same beaches and in the same creeks, walked the same cliff paths, free dived the same reefs, climbed some of the same trees and sailed the same waters as the drowned young men. In this way I feel a special kind of kinship with them and this is where the impulse to make the work originates. Moving at the centre of What the Sea Never Told is a memory related idea that I first began exploring through my doctoral work. Throughout the research stages of this project and whilst making the artworks for this exhibition I have kept close the concept of premembering which I define as a form of distributed memory wherein one’s culture, or place, stores up all of the traces, residues and presences of the experiences of those that have lived and died before, for all of its future inhabitants. The story at the genesis of these artworks inhabits Mornington in a particular way, it comes to the surface of the collective sentience and recedes again, but it never goes away; it remains under the collective psychic skin of Mornington. The ebb and flow of it’s presence is, for me, somehow connected with the recurring unconscious exposure to the stack of cut, veined, white stone at the beach end of Main Street and frequent exposure to light on the water that comes with living in Mornington. Since childhood, the stacked white marble has resonated for me with a sense of spectral materialism, the obelisk (itself a symbolic reference to a much deeper human history), the entangled Ti-treed cliff paths, the particular beach sand and the persistent red bluffs, are in a direct way the materialised inception of the relatedness that I have further explored through making these works.