Cartonography (a combination of carton and cartography) is a project by Sydney-based artist Sean Rafferty, which involves the collection, mapping and cataloguing of Australian fruit and vegetable cartons.
Rafferty is an eclectic artist who has collected more than 800 cartons and is driven by a desire to explore connections between objects, and their relationship with mythologies, histories and the landscapes from which they come. His recent installation at the Cairns Art Gallery is based on fruit and vegetable cartons from the Far North Queensland region, which he sees as place markers that convey stories about the people who grow, harvest, store and transport produce, from the farm or orchard to the consumer.
In 2018, Rafferty undertook a research visit to Far North Queensland and collected data, stories and information that have informed this exhibition. Rafferty believes that the process of collecting fresh produce cartons is an opportunity to connect with a farmer and/or a community, and that, as well as a device to transport produce from the land to a city, the carton can be a device to access and contain their stories.
Rafferty’s complex and visually engaging installation of tropical fruit and vegetable cartons encourages audiences to think about the many stories, histories and experiences that have been so much a part of their creation and purpose.
To coincide with and support the Gallery’s exhibition, from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December Dimbullah State School will hold a satellite Rafferty-inspired exhibition at Rusty’s Market on Grafton Street. For more information about Cartonography and the artist’s collection visit www.cartonography.com
Image: Sean RAFFERTY, Tablelands fruit cartons, digital image (detail), 2018