It is little known that among the survivors of the nuclear attacks on Japan were a small number of Australians. It is also barely understood that Australia yielded its land and compromised the future of its people to allow British nuclear colonialism—in the form of nuclear weapons testing at Maralinga, Emu Field, and the Monte Bello Islands.
As the Cold War ended, greater sections of Australian society have since been implicated in our nuclear future—which is manifest in the legacies of uranium mining, nuclear testing and nuclear wastes, and signified in new public debates about the nuclear energy option, the role of extended nuclear deterrence in Australia’s defence, the expansion of uranium exports, and proposals about the handling of national and foreign radioactive wastes. Since the time of the British nuclear tests, in the 1950s and 60s, Australian artists have responded to Australia’s nuclear politics and history through the mediums of film, song, digital arts, paintings, sculptures, theatre, photography, poetry, literature, and many others.
The special issue, Reimagining Maralinga, argues that Australian artists offer unique insights about its peoples and land, underwritten by Australia’s many indigenous cultures. The special issue brings together the contributions of artists—and their artworks—alongside critical reflections on the role of the creative arts in dealing with Australia’s nuclear history and bringing about alternative nuclear futures and social change.