National Exhibition Register

  • Solastalgia
    Nicole Kelly Solastalgia, 2022
    oil on board
    14 panels, each 240 x 82 cm
    Image Credit
    Photography: Flore Vallery-Radot

About the exhibition

Solastalgia is an immersive installation of painting and ceramics from Nicole Kelly exploring the duality of climate grief and love for the land, to highlight the devastation of climate change and its threat to our land, wellbeing and planet.

Hazelhurst Arts Centre commissioned Nicole to develop this significant new body of work for the exhibition Quintet on view 10 September - 13 November 2022.

Curated by Carrie Kibbler and Naomi Stewart. Supported by Sutherland Shire Council.

The land is silent, breathless. Ancient boughs blackened by wildfire stand on their last legs, bodies spindly like strands of thread. Beneath them a charcoal bed, the resting place of the lost. Here are the bones of the bush, the cartilage of catastrophe; what's left once flesh and foliage have been stripped away.

To love, and to grieve. Such is the deeply felt dichotomy in Nicole Kelly's installation Solastalgia, where sizzling anxieties about climate crisis plough into a soft and tender love of the land. In her panoramic painting and ceramics, Kelly creates an empathetic space enacting the immersive ability of art to transport audiences from the physical and temporal limits of architectural space.

Kelly's vast painted landscape - almost twelve metres long and two metres tall - references the catastrophic bushfires that blazed across south-eastern Australia in late 2019 and early 2020. Arranged circularly, this fourteen-panel piece recalls the Panorama paintings of the 19th century - yet rather than delineating sublime landscapes and grand historical events, it layers a burnt landscape with disorienting fragments of interior spaces and figuration. Rooms are cleaved open and left vulnerable to natural forces as interior spaces morph into the landscape itself, swiftly gutted by the climate-affected natural disaster.

Potted indoor plants, green and lush, throw the scorched landscape into sharp relief, creating a collision between the cultivated and the wild and casting a sad shadow over the diminished future of 'nature'.

Silent is the scene, and yet the roar of the wildfire emanates in our collective memory. Within this surreal mashup of dichotomies, hunched figures avert their faces from the viewer, allowing us to transpose upon them our own affiliations. These are not portraits, indeed, but archetypes of sorrow. Amongst the faceless figures a singular young girl stands front on, her skin pale against the charred tree behind her. She is a spectre in a dead land, an apparition of innocence and life. Hope, perhaps, is not lost. 

Catalouge Essay written by Elli Walsh

Artists and Curator

Carrie Kibbler and Naomi Stewart

Nicole Kelly

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
20/11/2022 - 24/12/2024
Exhibition size
Between 50-75 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Hazelhurst Arts Centre
Contact to discuss
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Digital Catalogue, Education Kit, Exhibition Tour Manual, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Media Kit, Public Program Opportunities, Public Workshops
Primary contact
Carrie Kibbler
Hazelhurst Arts Centre
0417 494 599
Secondary contact
Naomi Stewart
(02) 85365738
Courtesy the artist