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Artist-in-Residence Fremantle Art Centre

The Self Reconciliation Project

The project took me on an unimaginable journey of grief, empathy and understanding through loss.


During the Fremantle Art Centre residency, (February to June 2022), I focused on the notion of self reconciliation through research into my family history (an internal lens) in relation to politics, racial issues, community attitudes and the laws of the times.

The investigation started with looking at 100 years of my family history beginning with migration from Scotland to Quairading to the birth of my mother. As one of the first settler families arriving in Quairading Western Australia we were given land-lots while the Noongar Ballardong people of the region were persecuted.

The project took me on a very personal and deeply emotional journey of grief, empathy and understanding through loss.


Like many families mine was extended – the cousin who was like a brother and the cherished uncle. I arrived in Perth in February and quietly, day by day, my mother slipped away. She passed away one month after I arrived. A week later my cousin died. Our uncle’s heart broke, he had lost his sister and then his son. He passed away three weeks later. I then found my brother fighting cancer.


I spent days immersed in a tunnel of chaotic emotions. My universe became grief and loss, grief and loss, grief and loss.


In response, collecting objects, constructing brushes and mark making became my emotional and creative outlet. I created a wall of objects – brushes and drawings came to represent a wall of ‘memory and loss’. I used materials from my brother’s property in Wundowie (Noongar Whadjuk country) for the brushes and a much loved tablecloth of my mothers from our childhood for the binding. As I made the brushes and explored the marks each of them gave I was able to quietly be with my loss and grief.

I reflected on the importance of being with family at the end of their lives, and contemplated how, as settler/colonisers, we have devastated families, country, and culture of the Noongar peoples.

My creative processes largely moved away from the use of clay, exploring loss and grief through mark making, sound, writing and story telling. As well as creating brushes and exploring their marks, I investigated the use of sound, creating soundscapes that combined recordings of birds and other wildlife, rain, wind and sea; clips from family interviews and readings of writings and poems. Although unresolved it is a process I will continue to explore.


Read: The Self Reconciliation Project (February to June 2022) news post for more information about the residency and the project.




Fremantle Art Centre


February to June 2022

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