Valerie Sparks: Prospero’s Island

1 January - 1 February 2016

The Tasmaniam landscape provides a rich source of imagery from which to create an interpretation of Shakespeare’s Prospero’s Island. Prospero’s Island – South West  and Prospero’s Island North East chart the narrative arc of ‘The Tempest’ from vengeance to forgiveness. The wild cliffs of Tasmanian’s south coast are brought together with the sublime stillness of the north and east coasts to explore the theme of displacement, which is central to both The Tempest and the turbulent history of Tasmania. 


Propsero’s Island South West and North East were commissioned by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, for the 2016 exhibition Tempest, which was part of Dark MOFO. The exhibition was curated by Juliana Engberg. In 2014 Julian invited me to create an interpretation of Prospero’s Island. Ove the next 18 months I conducted a series of photo shoots across Tasmania gathering images to incorporate into the work. I also spend time researching and photographing the collections of TMAG, primarily the bird collection.

The work was exhibited as a large scale photographic installation in one of the salons at TMAG. The room was painted black so that the view entered a dark, but luminous space. The works were installed as wallpapers on 2 adjoining walls each 7 x 3.4 meters, creating a 14 meter immersive space. Editions of the installation work are available and can be customised to be site specific in suitable locations. The work has also been produced as 220 x 140 cm fine art prints.

Prospero’s Island North East was the winning work of the 2016 Bowness Photography Prize, and Prospero’s Island South West received second prize in the 2017 Fremantle Print Award