Black Mist Burnt Country – Testing the Bomb. Maralinga and Australian Art

Black Mist Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition of artworks by over 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists commemorating the British atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s.

Selected from public and private collections the exhibition features artworks from the past seven decades: Included are Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, Ian Howard, Pam Debenham, Toni Robertson, Rosemary Laing among Aboriginal artists such as Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown, Judy Watson, Hilda Moodoo, Yvonne Edwards and others.

Presenting works across the mediums of painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, new media and music, while exploring the varied perspectives and creative approaches of artists from post-WWII modernists to present-day artists.

Black Mist Burnt Country exhibition revisits the history of the British atomic test program at Maralinga, Emu Field and Montebello Islands and examines the impact on people and land, as well as its on-going legacies.

A variety of interactive elements enable visitors to the exhibition to learn about the social, political and environmental dimensions, while placing the Australian atomic tests in the context of the nuclear arms race and its present-day realities.

‘It is surprising how few people are aware that atomic bombs were exploded in Australia, and how little they know about the dislocation of Aboriginal people, the exposure of Australian servicemen and the contamination of the land. This exhibition offers some remarkable insights into a chapter of our history that has long-lasting consequences, while it poses some important questions in relation to contemporary nuclear issues,’ says JD Mittmann, exhibition curator.

The project has been produced by Burrinja, Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre, Upwey, Victoria. The project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program and developed through the Exhibition Development Fund of National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) Victoria. The project has also received financial assistance of Gordon Darling Foundation.

Gold Coast City Gallery exhibition dates:

Black Mist Burnt Country is on display at Gold Coast City Gallery, Main Gallery, from Saturday 27 May until Sunday 9 July 2017.

Exhibition opening event

Join us for a morning Couch Talk to discuss the exhibition Black Mist Burnt Country, a visual exploration of the British atomic tests in Maralinga. The Arts Centre Gold Coast Indigenous representative Kyle Slabb will be joined by artist Ian Howard and exhibition curator, JD Mittmann to share their stories, histories and insights and how they resonate with us today. Morning tea provided.

Saturday 3 June 2017 | 10:30am – 11:30am | Free | All welcome however bookings are essential

Full exhibition and event details are available at

Main Image: Artist Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown, one of the central stories of Black Mist Burnt Country