We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

John R Walker Fireground 2 (for Matty H)

archival oil on polyester

244 x 183 cm

In Braidwood, NSW, during last summer’s horrific bushfires, we were dominated by an all-pervasive smoke, on streets where the only movement was the endless queues of emergency service tankers refuelling. One of the firefighters, Matty H, told me he and his crew would reverse their truck in close to the threatened houses, fight the fire, then when it got too hot they’d hightail it out a few hundred metres. Once the flames subsided they’d reverse back in and resume the fight, for hours non-stop. Matty was exhausted, running on adrenaline. Fireground 2 (for Matty H) is what I saw in his eyes.

John R Walker, 2020