Ian Milliss

Ian Milliss is an artist who wishes he could live long enough to participate in the explosion of desperate creativity that will be unleashed by climate catastrophe.


Art in the time of the burning

As Samuel Johnson said to Boswell, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

I thought of this definitive comment on time as I was writing this article in late December 2019 in the Blue Mountains, in forty degrees temperatures as smoke swirled around outside from fire storms only kilometres away. We had been told to evacuate but we didn’t, we’d been through this before. The car was loaded up, the cats locked in the house and their cages ready to pack and run. But immanent immolation did not concentrate my mind, or only in the wrong way as I compulsively checked FiresNearMe and messaged friends to check they were okay. They often weren’t: several were burnt out, many had life-threatening escapes, and evacuations were commonplace. My friend Ronnie Ayliffe was posting videos of burning trees falling onto the road as she fled her farm and headed for Cobargo, itself already on fire.

It's Time
Adapt or die
“An underground artist? Me?” Ian Milliss on maintaining the rage to avoid extinction
The Underground
Cementa Country Arts SA NAVA Unley Museum