I began work on I used to find dead insects in your pockets early in the MFA program, it related to a process that was grounded in my daily life and events in my family. It loosely began an unearthing of an interest I have in relationships, the objects that connect people and the rituals that are practiced in relationships, the content was autobiographical. I wasn’t ready to delve any deeper into this at the time, but I learned about key values that are important in my practice, such as care and responsibility, in collaboration. These, I liken to an ethics that I bring to my practice.
This time last year I had begun I say a little prayer for you, a project that took me through most of 2019. To summarise, it was a large scale collaborative project that involved working with a little over one hundred women, who participated (mostly) anonymously over several months. The outcomes of the projects varied, firstly, the participants had a private creative and reflexive moment making their contribution to the project, which was a self portrait on cloth. Secondly, many women shared stories, concerning their experiences and concerns about identity, sexuality, performance of the self, external and internal pressure from broader society, this process sometimes involved an ongoing conversation. The cloth portraits were assembled into firstly a large, ‘badly made quilt’, single portraits installed on the wall in a studio space, and also made into cloth books. I embroidered some of the portraits, as a way to work back with the women. Women’s stories were sent to me in hand written letter form, printed out, or via email or messenger, I then performed the reading of these stories in a studio/gallery space, and via radio broadcast, which was then available as a podcast following the radio show. There were multiple outcomes and ways for the participants and viewers to encounter the work.
I did a great job of the bbq, Summer Solstice, 22 December 2019.
Keeping it sustainable; focus on a smaller group to collaborate with, I used to find dead insects in your pockets, focuses on myself, my children, my mother, nanas, and close friends.
Key content and themes from both projects:
Ritual, I say a little prayer for you, ritual in making the portraits, which echoes ritual in care, make removal, washing. I used to find dead insects in your pockets aims to centre rituals of care, sharing and exchange, as well as the objects that may be the outcome of such rituals and experiences.
Storytelling, through objects and actions, the above mentioned rituals of relationships, like making together, talking together, playing together and working together often generates stories. These stories can enable or build connections and deepen bonds as well as serve a practical function, such as an end result, like a meal made and shared together.
Ethics of care, relating to the people I work with, the stories that are shared with me, and the care that I bring to the installation, the objects that I may make or work with. An ethics of care and attention seems to be a key concern with I used to find dead insects in your pockets as a pay attention to the people and the rituals that I am recording, in story and object. Again I feel a sense of responsibility to act in a respectful and caring way as I develop this work and draw it together for the grad show.
Family portrait, Summer Solstice, 22 December 2019.