Cover Art

This section of the website highlights the cover art used on each issue of the journal, together with the artists interpretation of the work.

Use the page navigation links at the bottom of the page to view previous issues.

Vol 39(3) - El Dorado Springs

Artist Valerie Sparks’ digitally-assembled landscape El Dorado Springs is a fantastical landscape that brings together disparate locations and perspectives, times of day and seasons. Sparks draws inspiration from late 18th and early 19th century European depictions of landscape, notably a popular 1849 French-produced scenic wallpaper called El Dorado, which depicted a lush picturesque scene that blended architectural features and scenes from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

With El Dorado Springs, Sparks has created a surreal garden setting combining images from multicultural Melbourne’s contemporary urban landscape, in which the buildings themselves tell a story of waves of Australian migration and urban settlement. Thus she envisions a Russian Orthodox church sharing space with Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples, a Catholic cathedral and Islamic mosque, all set against a mountain backdrop (actually on the Iran-Iraq border).

‘There are multiple moments present and multiple points of perspective,’ Sparks explains. ‘The authority of the representation of landscape and place is disrupted.’

39-3-cover-art-El-Dorado-SpringsValerie Sparks
Cover image © Valerie Sparks
El Dorado Springs, 2007 (Detail)
Pigment ink on paper, 100 x 600 cm
Image courtesy of the artist and This Is No Fantasy

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