Materials: clay, wire and collected bush materials, fabric, charcoal, pencil and pen on paper and fabric, furniture items, acrylic paint on canvas, sound and lighting
‘Moses Australis’ responds to the notion of the continent of Australia being sought as an island of refuge. Themes explored include identity, inclusion and belonging, hope and connection to landscape.
The Eramboo site powerfully expresses ‘continent’, its geology and vegetation testament to its history back to Gondwana. This ancient landscape of Australia demands its inhabitants to shelter from it: to create islands of refuge. Its powerful elements dominate, even where habitation clusters on its edges.
Conversely Australia has long been sought as a place of refuge for people from outside. Perceived as an island of protection from violence and persecution, it is perhaps the cleansing power of its natural elements that allows for the possibility of life anew. Mixed in the landscape, refugee stories become our stories.
'Moses Australis' is experienced progressively: Venturing into the undergrowth a sleeping baby is encountered. Nestled in a basket, woven from elements of the bush, it is at once peaceful in the arms of ‘mother earth’, but absurdly vulnerable, alone in the elements. Like Moses in the rushes, this baby has been entrusted to the protective power of nature. It represents every child whose parents cannot protect them, who are forced to trust precarious circumstances. Strains of a faint lullaby mix with bush sounds.
Glimpsed through the trees is a child’s bedroom. Created inside, it is an idyllic haven of comfort and protection, dream and fantasy. One peers in from the outside between bars and through curtains made of stories. Images and text, portraits and poetry include refugee experience. The curtain weaves the artists’ own stories with those of refugees and migrants. A complex patchwork entwines us with those from outside. Bright melody is distinct.
The baby, the basket and the ‘bedroom’ weave a timeless reference to the enduring human condition, where hopes and dreams of every parent for their child unite humanity in our shared timeless continuum. Simultaneously, ‘Moses Australis’ embodies the artists’ deeply held convictions about human rights today, and specifically about Australia’s treatment of refugees.
Carolyn has a copy of her recently published book of her poetry and photographs for sale during the show. $30 on site or $37 with postage.
Christina and Carolyn are running a fabulous workshop for kids on Saturday, 22 November 2014 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Wild Things! will delve into children’s literature about islands and journeys. Join us and invent your own Wild Thing, read stories, draw with coloured pastels and use paper clay to make your favourite character. You may even like to write your own island story. For children age 5 to about 10 yrs. Book here (limited spaces available)
invitation to be included in the artwork
In addition to their own, family friends' and associates' stories, Christina and Carolyn would like to invite members of the public to submit a digital portrait photograph of themselves with a sentence about their migration or refugee story. The artists will create portrait drawings from the photos to be included in their ongoing artwork, in which the stories of Australians come together to create a collective cultural patchwork.