Botany Bay, 22 June - 12 August 2007, Leeds Art Gallery
A derelict landing stage on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal marks the site of Botany Bay in the Armley district of Leeds. Botany Bay received its name in 1808 as the landing place of the first shipment of Australian raw wool bound for Yorkshire mills.
Submerged in Botany Bay are the remains of a wooden icebreaker. These heavy vessels were pulled onto the ice by teams of horses and rocked from side to side, causing the ice to fracture. Wooden icebreakers were sunk in the summer months in order to preserve their timbers.
Three works by Roger Palmer make reference to Botany Bay:
(i) The Remains (2007), comprises a neon text that traces most of the circumference of a circle in a clockwise direction. The text is illuminated in four phases, each of four seconds duration, followed by a further phase of non-illumination.
(ii) In The Remains of a Wooden Icebreaker Lie Submerged in Botany Bay (2007) , two photographs present the derelict landing stage as a reflection in the canal in different weather conditions. Displayed on an LCD screen, the two images slowly dissolve, one into the other.
(iii) A work in situ, Botany Bay (2007), comprises upside down, reversed text on a panel attached to the canal wall close to the waterline at Botany Bay. The reflection on the water reads:
The Remains of a Wooden Icebreaker Lie Submerged