Artist Jeannette Unite has focussed on rich and contentious mining histories and the ways human’s exploit Earth, since living on African west coast alluvial diamond mines in the 1990s. It was during this time that she realised that as an artist, she is an end-user of titanium dioxide as this diamondiferous mineral washes up onto the Palaeozoic beaches and is the ubiquitous white pigment in paint.
Unite has mined for her paint box, using oxides, metal salts and residues from extraction, heritage and industrial sites, and has developed paint, pastel and glass recipes guided by advice from Earth scientists, geo-chemists, paint-chemists and a ceramicist to develop this ‘eco-alchemic’ work. These mining artworks are made from the very mined material they interrogate; the material is thus both subject and object in her predominantly large-scale art pieces.
Unite explores the impact and relations between power and Earth through the mechanisms, both technical and social, of our modern world that are so inextricably linked to mining. All wealth is derived from the Earth and laws and legislation are constructed to regulate who has access and ownership of the resources from the planet. Her celebration of the industrial sublime critiques the force of human compulsion for material goods regardless of the environmental and social consequences.