STRANGE FLOWERS #1-5
double matt film, archival pen & adhesive, paper. 2020
My work explores the early 19th century Tasmanian frontier violence against the Palawa (Aboriginal people in Tasmania) from my perspective as a descendant of the colonisers. The title references the 1937 anti-lynching protest song Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropol, sung so hauntingly by Billy Holiday, and the hanging of an Aboriginal man for the murder of two stockmen in 1823, one indentured to my 3rd great grandfather. 35 years later it was discovered that a significant number of Palawa were murdered at Sally Peak near the East Coast of Tasmania in retribution for the death of the stockmen. I use maps and outlines of Palawa Nation boundaries. I acknowledge that the placing of these boundaries on the land is a Western physical imposition as borders between groups of Aboriginal people required deep knowledge.
Embroidery on tapestry fabric 2018
The series Cover up (2018) interrogates the purported “romantic” Tasmanian history and my subsequent discovery of the truth. These issues are explored using embroidery to alter the state of European tapestry fabric (a metaphor for the coloniser.) By changing the state of the European tapestry through various embroidery techniques the fabric takes on new meaning creating a revised history. Although the work is suggestive rather than didactic, the altered state of the material raises issues of memory, reflection, cover-up and unfinished business.