Here’s a little sneak peak of some of the work I have in an exhibition coming up at the Museum of Brisbane. It’s called 20-20 and has been curated by Frank McBride as part of the 20th anniversary of the Churchie Emerging Art Prize, a Brisbane institution that has served as a jumping off point for so many Brisbane artists over the years, me included. Twenty artists making work that in some way responds to '20'. I can’t wait to see the results - from what I've heard there have been some pretty creative responses.
Given my little penchant for stories and archives, I decided to look at 3 generations of women in my family and what their lives were like at the age of 20. What I discovered was that each of us were carrying on our everyday lives against the backdrop of three different wars – the Second World War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. The impact of these wars on our daily lives was felt very differently by each of us, as over time the world changed and attitudes to war changed. But until I was prompted by this exhibition, I knew almost nothing of my mother’s and grandmother’s experiences of war.
There’s a lot in the public record about these wars, but it seems there is much less on the ways in which they affected women on a very daily level, the personal ways in which they reconciled their daily lives and daily routines with the lives lost and the distant battles being fought. So this work responds to some of those stories.
I was really surprised (and glad) by the fact that in the space of 60 short years the people who my grandmother saw as her country’s greatest enemy, are now amongst my best friends. But I was saddened (and not that surprised) by the fact that we human beings still don’t seem to have found better ways to deal with difference and resolve disputes.
The exhibition runs from March 23-July 15 and the opening event is April 19.