Sanitising landscapes:

Implications for meaning making


  • Tracey Delphin University of Tasmania
  • Abbey Jean MacDonald University of Tasmania


artist, landscape, sanitised landscape, practice-based research, art practice, process, action research


This article interrogates colonial representations of landscape in Tasmania from a perspective of practice-based research and reflective action-research. Adopting an entwined process of art-inquiry and critical examination of historical examples of colonial Tasmanian landscape art, the role of the artist in relation to what is included or omitted in depictions of landscape is examined to ascertain implications for meaning making. The choices an artist makes in relation to how they construct a particular aesthetic of the land is likened to a process of sanitisation; a process laden with discreet yet significant decision making to appeal to a particular sensibility or agenda. In exploring the notion of sanitised landscape in Tasmania, an acknowledgment of constructed realities begins to emerge through an evolving experimentation across media. In the context of the formative inquiry underpinning this article, insight into how constructions are reflective of artists’ use of media in relation to interaction with and interpretation of history, culture, society and experience at a given time, becomes apparent.