The selection of materials for ‘Respect This Place (After Uncle Laddie)’ 2022 communicate my personal response to the Halloran collection (HC). As a local woman growing up in Vincentia, like my mother before me, I have a deep sense of belonging to this place shared with Aboriginal friends and mentors. A significant mentor, Uncle Laddie, gifted me the pipeclay featured in this artwork and his words and handwriting ‘respect this place’ inspired the work and feature on an object in JBMM. This work pays tribute to Laddie’s lifelong work as a cross-cultural teacher and activist based at JBMM.
The paper support was soaked and stained c.10 years ago in the billabong near my childhood home. It is a place frequented by both my mother and her brothers and my siblings and I as children. I feel the presence of my ancestral spirits here. My grandparents, Keith and Gloria Sheehy purchased land from Warren Halloran in c.1955 across from the creek that feeds this billabong. The HC features maps recording Warren’s ownership and sale of the land that created Vincentia village. I chose to represent the instruments of nautical navigation and terrestrial surveying in the HC, as they are symbols of the colonisation and subsequent land sales in Vincentia.
In the Shoalhaven, colonisation began with Alexander Berry pictured in ‘Respect This Place’ using his sextant from the HC. His body merges with the graphometer to become the instrument of colonisation. His words ‘For many years I have reaped my harvest’ also feature in JBMM. Opposing Berry is a stylised representation of an Aboriginal hunter inscribed on a whale tooth from the HC. Cupping the graphometer on the left is a drawing of the breast plate worn by ‘Budd Billy’, who also featured in the JBMM photograph of a local corroboree pictured.
I have completed a triptych for SeeChange2020 building upon the central shroud created at Worrowing in 2017 (refer to earlierposts). The kookaburra was found deceased at the Worrowing shroud site. Cost is $2400 as a triptych. SOLD
Individual works can be sold separately.
Rising(Spring Kookaburra) 2020 bitumen, oil, gouache, aquarelle, gesso and rabbit skin glue on canvas 80(h) x 45(w) cm $720.
Spring Kookaburra 2017 2020 bitumen, oil, gouache, aquarelle, gesso, kookaburra and rabbit skin glue on canvas 66(h) x 73(w) cm $963.
Falling(Spring Kookaburra) 2020 bitumen, oil, gouache, aquarelle, gesso and rabbit skin glue on canvas 45(h) x 80(w) cm $720.
My work Day and Night is a finalist in the NOW prize.
Day and Night (Autumn Cockatoo and Flying Fox) 2011/2019. Cockatoo, flying fox, silk stitch, bitumen, oil, caput mortuum, pipeclay and rabbit skin glue on canvas. 101 x 162 cm. $3272.
Road boundaries kill animals, like this flying fox and white cockatoo in Canberra 2011. I dissolve the boundary between animal subject and art object by placing decomposing animals on canvas to infest the weave. After documenting their disintegrated remains, I steep the rancid cloth in vinegar and hang it in the elements to cure before stretching onto a wooden frame. I seal the evocative bodily stain or shroud with hot rabbit skin glue and spend weeks, months, or years, in its presence. In 2019, I felt drawn to this shroud and its accompanying photographs of decayed subjects, my two younger children running in a field, their loyal father in his cowboy hat, and two white cockatoos watching from dead trees in the dry Monaro. I apply the bitumen and oil of Europeans to depict the dead creatures, and sacred pipeclay given by a recently deceased Aboriginal mentor negotiates the ground.
Darren and I were only able to collect Shroud set 2 on Sunday as I had made the mistake of moving the sets into a shady area of the property. Shroud set 2 was not dried out enough to successfully remove the bodies. I made another mistake attempting to remove the flying fox and ringtail while moist. The imprint was not sufficiently revealed as the body was melted onto the canvas. I decided to leave shroud 2 at Worrowing in the sun to dry out further. I collected it in a few days and it was nicely dried. Vinegar processing went well, the stains nice and strong.
The first Worrowing Autumn Shroud Set features two ringtail possums, what looks to be a Swift, a cane toad and two geckos from Danny’s collection and a flying fox (they are currently in Vincentia and both me and my mum have them feeding and roosting at our homes).
Today Darren and I packed the car with another set of frozen animal bodies and went to the Worrowing Shroud site to collect the Summer set and set up the first Autumn set. We remembered to protect ourselves from the mozzies this time.
When we got home I bathed the two stained canvases in vinegar and hung them out to dry
The final of the twelve painted panels completed in the new year featuring a spotted pardalote in front of its muddy bank home and the silvereye in the wattle. Both photos referenced were taken by Chris Grounds. Today I joined the other Bherwerre wetland artists on a wetland walk guided by Plant specialist Rebecca and bird specialist/photographer Chris. It was lovely and inspiring.