WHY ARE WE DOING ART? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE IN THE WORLD? ... I THINK WHEN YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE, AND ARE SHARING IT WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING OF BENEFIT - Meridith Monk,
My lastest wearable artwork, Welcome / Un-welcome lei, is a reflection on the uninviting Australian border experience. Unlike other traditional handmade island garlands that are colourful and kind-spirited—including the widely recognised Hawaiian lei where a wreath of flowers is presented upon arriving or leaving as a symbol of affection—this lei responds to the unwelcome reception visitors encounter as they enter our country. The word ‘welcome’ is engraved in different languages on the surface of the handmade blackened gum leaves threaded together, so the greeting is hidden. In this way, Welcome / Un-welcome garland is ominous rather than welcoming, devoid of celebratory ritual, emulating the current reality experienced by arrivals to our shores.
MEMENT(O)S OF DISQUIET AND BEAUTY
Looking for inspiration to nourish me, I walked through the streets of New York City and slowly noticed details underfoot. I was particularly drawn to the metalwork embedded in the pavement and bitumen: steel and iron grates, utility hole covers, cast metal steps and urban metalwork garden edging. I encountered many circular and geometric solid and open grid constructions and began to see the beauty in the formal elements and repetition. I could visualise fragments transformed into miniature objects: keepsakes that could be worn on the body serving as urban signifiers and reminders of moments past.
THE 2019/20 AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES HAVE BEEN DEVASTATING.
Looking through the fire and ash for some hope for the future, I've decided that, for me, 2020 is about looking to nature yet again to inspire me and connect me to this earth: to this place and point in time.
Like previous collections, I can visualise fragments transformed into miniature objects: keepsakes that can be worn on the body serving as signifiers of the land and of moments past. While my 2019 focus was on thoughts of industrialisation, urbanisation, alienation, materiality, and masculinity... the push and pull of progress and manufacturing Vs beauty found in ubiquitous everyday objects, and whether these concepts are mutually exclusive, I was also reflecting on the role of the artist, the craftsperson and the humbling process of making.
My role as a maker felt so far removed from what I was seeing and experiencing in one of the busiest cities in the world, and in 2020 I need to find a way to reconnect with my environment-my natural environment. Through the craft of making intimate miniature objects, I can create unique and highly personal pieces that sensitively reflect my response to the natural and burnt landscape.