works on diverse surfaces - exploring stitch
The words represent a movement re-awakened out of tragedy and injustice that has reverberated around the world sparked by the recorded death of George Floyd in the USA. An issue no longer able to be ignored.
Watching and witnessing the Black Lives Matter marches that protested for justice for the (then) 423 black deaths in custody in Australia since1987. And a colonial system that has abandoned and betrayed and let them down them. I stand with them.
There is a purposeful irony in the title of this work.
Taken from the lines in our national anthem. 'For we are young and free...' I had always interpreted this as we (being inclusive meaning everyone) young (in spirit and therefore hopeful of the future and the possibilities it brings). Only recently from public discourse and conversation surrounding the anthem did I learn this was not the case. The wording was then changed to 'one' as the meaning associated to the word 'young' meant to many 'white settlement' which ignored the right of indigenous people to this land that they have occupied since the dawn of time.
I have used this title also to draw attention to the youth detention and incarceration rates of predominantly indigenous children in our prison system. Our government continues to jail disadvantaged children from the age of 10 years despite calls from UN and others to change these laws to a minimum age of 14 years.
Stitched in black.
The transparent medium is a purposeful decision.
Loose threads reflect life.
There is a perceived permanence to stitch, a commitment of its use as a medium. It matters.
Stitching is a slow methodical, immersive process.
So too is change. These words are a mantra. A movement.
There is a momentum for change and for what is no longer acceptable.
Stunned by the words of Australia's Prime Minister (and senior members of his government) in June 2020, when dismissing Australia's white history of slavery, Mr Morrison said: "While slave ships continued to travel around the world when Australia was established it was a pretty brutal place but there was no slavery in Australia" (11 June 2020) Claims he later had to walk back.
Our Prime Minister also warned that "..we shouldn't be importing the things that are happening overseas to Australia."
(4 June 2020).
An inconvenient truth...
On 29 December 2015, a 26 year old Dunghutti man from Kempsey NSW, David Dungay Jr - died in custody at Long Bay Jail after saying 12 times that he could not breathe.
Words matter. People matter. Black lives matter.
From this groundswell of growing voices across all cultures it is my hope that white people, those with privilege, in leadership and with power will action the change that needs to occur to ensure there is justice for all. We are all agents for change.
2021 'she dreams in colour...' solo exhibition, timeless textiles gallery, newcastle NSW
for we are young and free
size: 164.5cm (h) x 40cm (w)
cereal bag plastic, black thread, machine stitch
This is a continuation of a series of works that examine language and words in politics that shape, social justice, human rights and equality issues.
2021 'she dreams in colour...' solo exhibition - timeless textiles gallery, newcastle NSW