This is one of a series of 3 screenprints produced following an unusually long dry season in Hope Vale, Far North Qld, home to the artist Roy McIvor. Typically, bushfires will burn weeks on end, choking the air and blackening the land. With the increasing discomfort of rising temperatures and humidity, the dissatisfaction is reflected in people, who soon become argumentative and abusive to others. It is not unusual at this time of year to find hospitals filled to capacity – and funerals. That is exactly what took place at that time. Explained only as the result of a long and withering ‘build-up’ to the wet season, Hopevale experienced a number of deaths.
Working in his studio workshop, Roy told heard what he thought to be the crack of a rifle. Looking cautiously out of the workroom window his fears seemed to be confirmed by the puffs of red bull-dust rising from the dry ground. A moment of extreme anxiety broke into disbelief when, discovering there was no gunman, what he saw was the result of large droplets of water and the onset of the first thunderstorm. The Dry was over. Children and their parents came out into the streets and people began laughing again. The season’s cycle was rotating again.
The resulting screenprints depict the various stages of recording the colours and patterns of the onset of the wet from parched earth, to burning and the final deluge as expressed in a physically human nature – blood/earth (Bubu Gunbi), sweat/heat (Yuku Ngaala) and water/tears (Buurraay Milbaal).