This photographic project is concerned with the relationship between humans and other animals.  Cultural and religious ideologies justify and tend to conveniently facilitate human social, political and economic gains. The representation of assurance and opulent wealth in the tradition of European still life paintings echoed an ideology that rationalized human domination of the natural world. Importing this perspective through the still life tableau into the context of the destroyed animal life on our own streets, I hope raises uncomfortable questions about contemporary relationships to animals and how we inherit and adapt cultural ideas. The loss to animal life is weighed against our own economic progress and urban development and to trace the lineage of this expectation and indifference facilitates informed action.

My photographic work with indigenous animals arose from experiencing ‘road kill’ in my local area of Brisbane and grew over time to include wider Australia. The project gained a life of its own as my community became more involved in the collection of and consequently the representation of indigenous animals within this historical frame. The historical genre and tradition of the still-life and the collection of animals for the purposes of natural history affirmed the conception that animals exist for our consumption in the broadest sense.

In my own personal experience this no longer held true and to explore this status quo I sought to investigate my own relationship to death and to indigenous animals by bringing them into my kitchen, dining room and studio. I wanted to test the contemporary continuance of this inherited ideology. The personal and sacred space of home and kitchen assisted in this confrontation.

With this work I aim to bring actual and specific deaths to our attention and to acknowledge their close links to the sustainment of our lives. Through a process that aims to honour the specific through the verisimilitude of photography and the general through formal, ritualistic frameworks of kitchen and the historical genre of still life painting, I hope to promote a sense of gratitude, respect and responsible awareness to  ‘other’ animals as well as to ourselves. This work is an evolving process from 2003 to the present and has been shown as several exhibitions: Australiana, Still Lives, Still Life, Every Living Thing and Birds.


Marian’s art practice spans 1980 to the present in photography and video and explores current relationships to time, domesticity, history and landscape. Her work acknowledges the pictorial relationships of landscape and history to cultural identity, as explored in her photographic translation of the European still-life genre in the context of Australian roadkill.

After completing her degree in 1984, Marian was awarded a German government scholarship to study experimental photography in Germany. Since that time her work has been recognized through grants, awards and residencies in Australia, Europe and the US. She is currently the Convener of photography programs at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane and is represented by commercial galleries in Australia and the US. Her work is represented in Australian state and national gallery collections as well as numerous private and public collections.  Her first major monograph was published in 2006 by the Queensland Center for Photography. To view more of Marian’s work visit her website.