Thursday, March 27, 2014


The last minute things are always the most fiddly. I have been doing a lot of engraving on mirrors as reflection seems to be a what I am engaged in. The leaves on the mirrors are a way to get other people to see themselves as a part of this work. When they see themselves in the mirrors their view is obstructed. The last three mirrors are text based. I wanted to write the words Witness and Whiteness as white people don't usually recognise their whiteness, ie their privilege. Interestingly the most expensive mirror I have bought came from the UK and is silver with a tortoise shell back. (I didn't know it has a tortoise shell back until it arrived) It was the mirror of privilege and I was planning to write Whiteness on it, having already done Witness on the other one (see previous blog) Anyway I messed up the text. It turns out that although I have become quite accomplished in engraving images, text is another thing altogether. Luckily for me my friend Will Francis the master jeweller took out the mirror and replaced it for me and added a beautiful silver attachment at the end of the handle so I can hang it. Of course this was perfect as I had already engraved another mirror with Whiteness so the text on this expensive and beautiful mirror had to be Privilege of course. It will hang upside down so I am hoping people will pick it up and look into it, reading privilege on their own faces.
The chair is finished too, just have to have a few more antique nails put in.
I am now looking forward to this show after being a bit of a princess for a while, feeling that 'it really should be in a more important place'. I think I was just reacting to my resistance to being seen as a community artist. A label I have always rejected. Politically I love the Footscray Community Art Centre! Its a perfect place to show this work.
An Australian colonial tapestry (The Hentys)
Needlepoint and antique chair

Nature Morte
Engraving on Mirror

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Witness Whiteness - Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act in Australia

Australia is full of discussion in the media about the decision of the Attorney General to make sweeping changes to the racial discrimination act. Such a shameful proposition to have such a high profile person in our government saying that Australians have a right to be bigoted. There is so much to say about this but again I am shamed as a white person. I gave a talk about my project a while ago and a young man asked a question at the end. It was, "how do you be a good white person?" I didn't have an answer.
My exhibition opens next week and I look forward to feedback from both black and white Australians on the work. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Vacant Seat

Isabella's chair and Patrick's chair are the empty seats I am asking myself to imagine sitting in. They are chairs from the early 1800's from Melbourne, probably made by early colonists. I am attempting to place myself in the picture of early history in order to confront the shame that I believe lies hidden, 'sat on' so to speak, and affecting the way I relate to myself and my country. I have been dealing with the easy generalisations about 'our past', not 'my past' and now is the time to sit down and look at myself.
After my exhibition I am going on a road trip to find the place my great Grandfather occupied in Northern NSW. I would like to find whose land he took and what has become of the traditional owners. I am going to take these seats and sit down in this country in an attempt to try to reconcile with the occupier in myself.

Isabella's Chair

Patricks Chair