wearables/ textile art/ garments
Photo Credit: Kelcie Bryant-Duguid
2020 seed stitch contemporary textile award, australian design centre, darlinghurst NSW
2020-2021 tamworth regional gallery, tamworth NSW (touring)
cereal bag plastic, cotton tape, sewing thread, disposable gloves, wire bread tie, elastic
free machine stitch
This work has been made in response to the Covid19 pandemic. When listening to the local and international news I was forced to ask: what is the cost of work and that of a human life? The term 'essential worker' was coined in the media and by politicians. It felt akin to how 'collateral damage' has been used. I found it quite disturbing and I wanted to create a work that expressed my discomfort. I hope this work is a catalyst for discussion and reflection on the sacrifice made by so many who simply did their job at this time irrespective of the inherent personal risk.
The NSW Government first advised healthcare workers to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) on 24 July 2020.
The casualisation and deregulation of workplaces has led to vulnerable communities (predominantly low socio-economic, migrant, and women), experiencing increased risk of exposure to Covid19. Infection rates in low paid health and services populations around the world are disproportionately represented. The risk for workers who have little job security and yet are called upon at significantly greater rates to risk their family's health for the greater good is a stark reminder of the gaping inherent inequities within our society.
The work itself is an attempt to recreate a PPE suit, created using domestic materials that can be found in any home; cereal bag plastic, sewing thread, cotton tape, elastic, wire bread tie, disposable gloves. The suit itself conveys a sense of clinical distance which is juxtaposed by a sense of cautionary intimacy. Covered in scrawled text, which has been free motion sewn over the entirety of the suits surface are the various phrases including 'save lives stay at home' and 'wear a mask', these messages which have been reiterated by both the government and throughout communities in the hope of reducing the spread of the virus.
The sale price of $893.20 is calculated at the standard 40hr weekly wage of an Aged Care Worker in Australia.
This work has been acquired by Tamworth Regional Art Gallery, NSW.