The back of a fish eye adapted for low light conditions. The light spheres in the top left-hand corner reflect light back into the retina to enhance visual sensitivity at night. The adjacent oblique strands mark the back of the retina. The central large sausage shape is the nucleus of a cell called a melanocyte that produces the dark pigment granules. These absorb any stray light and prevent it from leaving the back of the eye. The small circular shapes in the bottom right-hand corner are bundles of collagen that support the eyeball in the head.

The black dots are around 0.6 micrometre in diameter (1 micrometre is one thousandth of a millimetre).

Image: Anne Simpson

This artwork traps an ancient world in with the modern world. Our ancient people, culture and land have endured and so have our stories, values, beliefs and traditional practices. My ancient people are freshwater people who lived and survived along the many waterways of our land. One of these waterways was the Bogan River in western NSW. Along this river is a small place called Dandaloo. Dandaloo is where my father was born, along with his sisters and brothers. My father’s mother was forced to live there on a Reserve after being forced off her traditional lands. My father told me he and his brothers and sisters would fish nearly every day on the river to provide food for the family. My father took me back there one day and I had the most incredible spiritual experience. As I walked along the river I heard children laughing and playing, like in a playground. I looked for the children but could not see them. I searched everywhere but was unable to find them. My father stayed in the car away from where I was, so I was alone. The whole time I was there the children’s voices remained with me. I realised this was my ancestors calling out to me and assuring me of my right to be with them on ‘Country’.
When I told my father this, he smiled and said, ‘’ your land, people and culture are always calling out for you, sometimes you just have to listen closely for the moment”. This artwork captures my spiritual experience of walking along the river and gazing into the water and feeling the energy and presence of my land and people. Just as an electron microscope can allow us to visit a world far away from normality, Aboriginal spirituality too provides a world of beauty and magic that lives and survives around us.

Artist: Graham Toomey