inscription & Place

Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery,
Hobart, Tasmania
2017

Three Tasmanian jewellers (Sarah Stubbs, Alex Parish, Janine Combes) and myself spent 2016-17 working with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s Henry Baldwin Bequest collection on a project re-interpreting, reframing and contextualising history and memory through the jewellery object.

Bequeathed to TMAG in 2008, the Baldwin Collection was the largest single donation in the museum’s history and contained among other things, jewellery, diaries, letters, books and small domestic objects which speak to the lives of the women of two of colonial Hobart’s leading families, the Manings and Knights.

The resulting artworks fuse references to the forms and materials of objects from the collection with traces of the lives of the women and an overlay of elements from the artists’ own lives and connection to place.

"Looking into’s Emily’s life I create connections through our shared emotions and experiences. Love. Loss. Belonging. It binds us and ties us together, at least for this short time.
Discovering the books that she read throughout her life, I find they speak of her time and of the social mores, but ultimately I look beyond their content to see them simply as objects.
Books are inherently strong and substantial but their pages individually are fragile and ephemeral. Contents are hidden, layer upon layer of unseen words. Stories contained. So many of these descriptors bring me back to the woman I have been researching.
Emily - a tenacious woman who experienced the fragility of life through the death of her husband and two of her children, while remaining strong for those who lived. A woman whose own adventurous stories included eloping to marry her love, while later learning the importance of keeping up a veneer in an age of strict social conventions.…. A woman I can only catch glimpses of as I flick through the pages of her life."

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