The Legacy of Absence and Silence
explores the search for identity and belonging, the desire to be part of a bigger shared history and cultural background. Many Australians whose forbears settled here from the early days of settlement throughout the 19th century share this absence of knowledge and this void.
These forbears never spoke of their families and their past lives in their native land. Many Europeans anglicized their names and rejected their native languages. Few stories, if any, were passed down, yet our identity is inextricably linked to these forbears through DNA.
When I started making this piece I first made a traditional book structure with a spine which I called
The Legacy of Silence.
I worked on pages using predominantly drawing, some printmaking and others using photo transfers.
This page was about gold mining, so a strip of real gold leaf was added.
The book works well but I always like an interesting sculptural presentation and I had in mind that I would enter this piece in the Libris awards, So I kept this book as a more traditional version and started again designing a large sculptural structure.
I needed to make a few changes and the printmaking pages were redone as white marks, drawing and a photo transfer on black paper.
I had to make a number of each of the pages as all the work had to be original artwork which could then be folded into long concertinas. I left the text off these pages and settled for a freestanding text page which folds into a concertina and sits within the front cover of the finished book.
The multiple concertinas were sewn together to form a more complex structure which still folds down flat into the book covers. It ended up being really large, measuring about 75 x 15 cm. closed.
The structure of the book enhances the meaning. The viewer can peer into the darkness of the front pages trying to glean details and then look down into the white pages where a few known facts are revealed, but glimpses only of these images can be seen, never the full story.
The Legacy of Absence and Silence has been selected for exhibition in the Libris Awards at Artspace Mackay from 26th August to 16th October 2016.