The Mineral Kingdom

South Australian Museum, 2013

As part of Craftsouth’s Inside SAM’s Place (now Guildhouse Collections project), Sue has been digging behind the spectral delight of the South Australian Museum’s mineralogy collection to examine and interpret the social history of mining in South Australia. In the resulting exhibition, The Mineral Kingdom, Sue explores aspects including Johanne Menge, the colony’s first mineralogist, the nineteenth-century copper boom, radium fever, and the vision of South Australia as a uranium state. By intermingling museum artefacts, historical images and archival material with her own visual interpretations, Sue brings forth some of the unsettling social complexities associated with mining history that continue to circulate in the present. Photographs, stories and objects such as animal skulls from the South Australian landscape are haunting reminders of the colonial ambition of mining that has forged an indelible part of Australia’s national identity.

‘A knack for mining’ by Lisa Slade, Project Curator, Art Gallery of SA