Rainforest Memory is about the memory of trip my husband and I took to Australia in the 1990s. We arrived in Cairns, in Queensland, and took the little Outback train through the table lands up to Kuranda where we found a simple place to stay and enjoy the environment.
Our first day there we took a river ride with a guide and his pet Heeler. The river was full, it was the rainy season, and the trees were hanging with hundreds of clusters of huge dark fruits, an exotic variety I had never seen before. I asked about these and the guide told us “not fruits, mate: fruit bats!”
Kuranda, at that time anyway, was a one-horse village with a pub, and a local aboriginal art fair every weekend. The town was almost right under the canopy of the rainforest. At sunset we would go to the pub, which had a 4 star chef, amazingly, pour ourselves some wine and watch the evening sky fill with flying foxes.
Another day we rented a dirtbike and road through the forest, listening to Kookaburras and catching glimpses of estuarial crocodiles peeking up at us through snags in the river.
Rainforests around the world are in big trouble. In Australia the flying fox population is succumbing to devastating heat from climate change, and in other places around the globe rainforests are being clear-cut to make room for cattle ranching.
In Western cultures, white symbolizes goodness, illumination and understanding. In Eastern cultures, white is the color of mourning and funerals. This painting is a future memory of a past rainforest, but we don’t know yet which of the interpretations of the white bat that memory will reflect.
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