Colonial history can be viewed as a series of frontier encounters based around extractive economies. How are these economies – social, commercial, creative and political – reflected in art? This exhibition of new and existing works explores both the artistic heritage and contemporary manifestations of the act of ‘digging’ in former and current mining towns. What is found and what is lost in the process of excavation? Taking mining as a metaphor, the artists represented in this exhibition (from places as geographically and culturally diverse across Australia and beyond as Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Castlemaine, Victoria, and New Guinea) explore multiple themes implicit in the act of mineral exploration and exploitation: scarring, layering, excavating, prospecting, exchange, power, custody, resources, home, land, destruction and renewal.

The Extractive Frontier: Mining for Art is staged over three sites: Castlemaine Art Museum, Lot 19 and Castlemaine Market Building.
Image: Shirley Macnamara and Nathaniel Macnamara, Cu, Hand coiled copper wire and raw copper, 22 x 25 cm.