Silva Inferno is a continuation of Cooke’s work on the theme of deforestation which has been an ongoing series since 2015.
In particular Silva Inferno deals with the duration and aftermath of fire. Inspired by a visit to the Millstream Chichester National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in the immediate aftermath of a controlled burn, Cooke focuses on the depth of black in the charcoal, the silver ash, smoke, golden scorch marks and at times the regeneration of foliage.
The Silva Inferno series is enhanced by the use of stone lithography emphasising the ancient land that the burnt forest is a part of. Cooke trained in the technique of stone lithography under Barry Cleavin and Dee Copland at Ilam School of Fine Arts in the early 1980’s. The stone carries with it a spiritual resonance of the land making it a special surface to draw on with both crayon and tusche.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners, of the land I depict, the Yinjibarndi people whose Traditional Lands are the Millstream Chichester National Park in Western Australia. I also wish to acknowledge the iwi of Tamaki Makaurau where this exhibition is being shown. I pay respect to their Elders, past, present and future.