A SUNKEN GARDEN



A Sunken Garden (2021) is a collaborative project with artist Lyndon Blue that exibited at Girls School Gallery in Boorloo (Perth), WA in October 2021. A Sunken Garden was the last in a series of shows by Private Island, an artist-run experimental arts project, sponsored by DLGSCI.

A Sunken Garden is a show about wandering, foraging and perceiving. It’s a show about a garden as a place where knowledge is sown, materialised and maintained.

For Lyndon Blue, hand-weeding proposes itself as a healthy obsession, a meditative ecological act, a confusing metaphor and a way of artmaking through removal. The allure of foraged copper leads to a foray into the strange art of dowsing and unexpected ancestral discoveries.   

For Tiyan Baker, bringing together plant life, language and storytelling is a way to invoke the power and possibility of traditional Bidayǔh knowledge.

Artwork details:

Tiyan Baker, Invocation to be visited by a crocodile, 2021, moss, coconut husk, fabric, thread, crocodile figurine, irrigation

Tiyan Baker, nyatu’ mungut maanǔn bigabu, 2021, autostereogram print on canson infinity rag photographique




Invocation to be visited by a crocodile, 2021, installation detail, photo by Guy Louden


My aunty once told me that crocodiles and Bidayǔh people have a pact. The origin of this pact is believed to be an old story about a crocodile who visited a woman in her home and asked her to help his wife, who was struggling to lay eggs. The woman agreed, and swam with the crocodile into a deep river pool to reach his nest. The woman counseled the crocodile’s wife and relaxed her until she was able to give birth to her baby crocodiles. Grateful for her help, the crocodiles told the woman that if she and her descendents wore a crocodile tattoo on each leg, they would never be harmed by a crocodile. The woman also promised that her descendents would never harm any crocodile again. This pact of mutual protection continues to this day. This story of interspecies allegiance shows the possibility of overcoming mortal danger through trust, care and kindness. I hope to one day be visited by a crocodile.




Invocation to be visited by a crocodile, 2021, installation detail, photo by Guy Louden



Invocation to be visited by a crocodile, 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden



Invocation to be visited by a crocodile, 2021, installation detail, photo by Guy Louden



mungut (to pick only the young buds), 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden

These 4 photographic prints use images taken on Bidayǔh native lands in Sarawak. These images are autostereograms, also known as Magic Eye images, a nostalgic optical illusion technology that was very popular in the 1990s. Embedded in these images are forgotten or rarely used Bidayǔh words that are about wandering, collecting and foraging. Serian Bidayǔh language has hundreds of terms for activities that are specific to a daily rhythm of moving through the jungle and working intimately with plant life. In current semi-Industrialised Bidayǔh society, these words are almost never used and have been left behind. These images are incantations to evoke the old knowledge these words hold. They suggest that if we see the natural world in a slightly different way, we can access another way of knowing and moving.



nyatu’ (to collect fallen fruit), 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden



bigabu (to walk through water), 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden



maanǔn (found all over the place in plenty), 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden



A Sunken Garden, 2021, installation view, photo by Guy Louden












I live and work on the lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation.
This sovereign land was never ceded.
The land I live on always was and always will be Aboriginal land.