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Guiding Light, Maatsuyker Island

A collaboration between art and heritage.


Maatsuyker Island is located 10 km off the southern coast of Tasmania and is home to Australia’s most southerly lighthouse. During the summer of 2013-2014 artists Peter Maarseveen and Nicole O’Loughlin spent three months undertaking a wilderness arts residency. Whilst on the island they made numerous works exploring the dramatic windswept landscape. Looking out towards the vast ocean and back at the rugged coastline of Tasmania, both the artists responded to the isolation in their preferred media to document fragments of the island.

Peter, working in pinhole photography, captured the diversity of the island. His photographs depict the island from where it falls steeply into the ocean to the lush canopy of the top of Maatsuyker. His use of 35mm film in the most primitive of cameras creates a haunting look at the landscape of the island. Peter also designed and constructed a pinhole camera modelled on the lighthouse which takes 360 degree photos.

Nicole’s work is reminiscent of a scientific survey of the island. On her daily walks she would collect small fragments of the flora and fauna to paint watercolour studies. Her work provides a glimpse into the abundant life that is present on Maatsuyker and the poetic cycles of nature.

Selected items from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office and National Archives of Australia complement the exhibition of the artists’ work. These documents provide a brief insight into the history of the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers.

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Guiding Light, Maatsuyker Island

Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, 91 Murray Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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