The Unfurling


The Unfurling

Zone 15

Suzanne Davey and Mena Johnson

Materials: clothing, resin, rope, metal, paint

The Unfurling is a large scale site responsive installation of suspended body 'voids' and ropes, harnessing wind and light. Located within the unique bushland setting of Eramboo, the ethereal work is informed by a collaborative exploration of the concept of Islands with poet Mena Johnson.

The focal point of the work is the swarm of suspended body 'voids' above a large concrete water tank in bushland. Configured from white clothing, resin and ropes the swarm is overwhelming due to its scale. Wind choreographs movement in the collective. The sculptures are translucent and reflect natural light as they move; subject to elemental forces beyond their control.

The Unfurling is a response to the debate surrounding vulnerable populations arriving on Australian shores and beyond, and the human costs. Individual rights and national interests are given precedence over collective human rights. Each day there are reports of terrorism, war and people fleeing their homes. The Unfurling explores the tragedy gripping so many; people dreaming of sanctuary yet who become victims to forces beyond their control through war, politics and discrimination.

The Unfurling is the result of a collaborative partnership with poet Mena Johnson exploring the trope of islands. It responds to Mena's poetic descriptions of islands as sites of solitude and contemplation, enabling soulful growth. She speak of islands as places where people can shed their ordinary lives and dream of new possibilities by allowing space for thought and time to attend to nature. The Unfurling has come into being through artistic collaboration, sharing images, poetry, and ideas. As the project has developed and after spending many hours at the Eramboo site Mena has written a new poem for this creative collaboration. Viewers can listen to Mena's poetry via an app, with extracts stencilled on the tank in white calligraphy, enhancing the ethereal quality of the installation.


Susanne is running a workshop, UNEARTHED: Mixed media clay sculpture 15 November 1.00pm-3.00pm - you can book here to secure a place.
Unearth your inner sculptor and create your own a unique 3D work using paper clay and natural materials. Squash, squeeze, roll, stamp, scratch, build and join to unearth your sculpture. Like many of the On Islands artists you'll be responding in your own creative way to the 'site'; the beautiful bushland landscape at Eramboo. With the experienced guidance of artist Suzanne Davey explore the forms, texture and materials of that environment through clay sculpture and installation. Bring along a wooden board or cardboard box to take your air drying artwork home with you. Make sure you bring your phone or camera to record your creativity as you go. Suitable for all ages and levels of experience. 



The island imagines herself––sprouts wings and weather;

first one thing and then the other; in multi-coloured

waistcoat, all movement, ethereal––

too perfect for this world.  The night still on her wings

she paints a window for the gods between the trees that are,

the trees that were, and the trees that may have been.


Unlike chameleon hers is a change of form––

absent of words––negative space beyond

the pine's candle of whorling leaves. 

Her song gathers filtered light, weaves memory

of branches and shadow, seeded grasses, the rhythm of water.

Weaves deeper the land's stillness.


Hers a presence that remains––a transparency

that enhances experience toward ecstacy––fullness of laughter––

tears of attention.  Between the movement toward

and the dive beneath, hers an exquisite listening; word and spirit––

resistance in equal measure––reservoirs of revelation.

Everything that matters––a vanishing.


Mena Johnson