The Last Pipi Harvest at Venus Bay
Mixed Media on Canvas
102 by 102cm
By Norm Hanson 2012
This is a story of anthropogenic extinction, as written into future stone. The ochre coloured sandstone  was at one time a thriving beach, brimming with life and specifically a prolific population of Donax Deltiodes, also known as Pipis or Surf clams. However the Pipis were so yummy and they were harvested in such numbers that fewer and fewer shells reached maturity each year. Then suddenly in one season, the entire population failed to reproduce. Worse the rich food chain of the beautiful beach collapsed, with their demise, and the once thriving beach became a pale version of itself. Only a few brave worm burrows  could be found. Then all signs of life disappeared .
This story need not come true.
The work was created first as a mould of the main units in the sand south of Beach one. This included leaving some of the worm burrow/air holes undisturbed. broken Pipis and other shells where collected nearby and scattered in the mould. The mould was filled with expanding polyurethane foam and cover with the canvas, burried and left to harden for an hour or so. The foam on canvas mould was next painted with several coats of sand, gesso and latex to create an absorbent sandstone like finish. Finally this was “stained” and painted with various oxides. It represents a future geological rock face, perhaps a few million years into our future. This rock face runs close to the bedding planes with the oldest layers, the ochre sandstone on the lower left, closest to you. You are looking "up" in time.
This work will be on display at the Mount View Art Show, 14th - 17th June 2012