thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 23:18 authored by Anglesey, J
The project centres on my own connections, through family, to the free middle-class women who were the wives and daughters of colonial settlers in Tasmania. Whereas both convicts and the upper classes have been documented in conventional histories, these women have been largely silent. Their position in society appears to be overshadowed by that of their husbands and fathers, their histories white-washed. Revisionist histories of women's place, beginning with Anne Summers' Damned Whores and God's Police (1975), have attempted to redress the balance, however Inheritance identifies a multiplicity of histories, in particular oral histories that bring the middle-class colonial woman's private space into focus in a quest for identity. The major characteristic of these histories is their ephemerality. Women's work ‚ÄövÑvÆ cleaning, cooking, and sewing ‚ÄövÑvÆ also carries this characteristic, which is brought to bear in the series of ephemeral installations that make up Inheritance. The installations are redolent with the substances used in housework ‚ÄövÑvÆ tea, sugar, coffee, salt, washing powder. This pervasive sensory experience calls up memories that make sense of personal experience ‚ÄövÑvÆ not just those things consciously learned from mothers and grandmothers, but those ideas and practices absorbed by being part of a particular practice or place. Site specificity has been an essential element of the installations in the Inheritance series. Patterns used in the installations take on the decorative forms of the domestic sphere, found in carpet, fabric, clothing, and personal adornment. Feminine forms are often held in place by the grid of architectural space, used as a metaphor for male hegemony and symbolised in references to iron lace and other applied decoration found in the nineteenth century urban fabric of Launceston. The thesis contests the notion that the work of colonial free women was valueless because it is and was unseen. The multiple 'non-traditional' histories told by family members and the apparently mute physical remnants of their lives are materialised as an unconventional and powerful Inheritance.
Rights statementCopyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2005.