Opening Night 100 Books
A personal histories of International Artists’ Book exhibition.
100book: A personal histories international artists’ book exhibition highlights the dynamic world of contemporary artists’ book practice, with contributing artists from over 16 countries. The exhibition explores various structures and content, with curator Robyn Foster inviting us to contemplate our evanescent relationship with books at a seminal point in history where technology has overtaken books as society’s primary information source. 100book also contains a section of works created by Australian artists to commemorate the ANZAC Centenary and Australian involvement in World War I.
The exhibition curated by Robyn Foster has been a project close to my heart. It is part of the Personal Histories project and I have really enjoyed bringing my love of family history and combining it within an artist book. The exhibition is open from Sunday 29th March to Sunday 10th May.
View the website here.
My inspiration for My Grandmother was a Dear…
Firstly was the opportunity to participate in an artist’s book exhibition Personal Histories.
Secondly, the story recorded below about the invisible women in my family history burns deep.
Thirdly my friend and Hobart book artist Penny Carey Wells years ago wrote exhorting us all to “leave a trace”.
I had always been interested in family history, but my interest was really spiked when I attended a family reunion for my Father’s family in 1984. Dad and his cousin organised the gathering. It was not far from where my great-grandparents had bought land and bought land about a hundred years before and twenty years after they moved to Australia. The family wanted to tell the story of the descendants of this pioneering couple. I was asked to draw up the family tree not because of my interest in family history, but because I had about a week of calligraphy during my training at art school. My father had always been interested in history in general and family history. Given different opportunities in life he would have made a great historian. World history and family history were often discussed around the dinner table.
Dad’s cousin found that the descendants of the Dear family were also gathering for a reunion. My great grand mother’s family had arrived a little earlier just before Queensland received statehood. We were keen to add information to our tree and keen to see theirs. However the Dear tree was a purely patriarchal tree…i.e. one that only listed the male line, so we were somewhat upset and thought it pretty outrageous. Apparently we chose not to see it. Thirty years on I wouldn’t miss that opportunity. On this tree every female born into the family was listed as “f” and every female marrying into the family was also listed as “f”. The men were accorded a name, birth and death date. So in fact the Dear tree was spare indeed. We all found this staggering especially considering the contribution women made to the early settlement of Australia. In the years since, I have found other families who have had their women listed as “f’s”…but not many.
I have tried to gather the stories, images and dates of all those women and men that were still living so that history would record them more fully. I have asked many questions about my family history. My father’s last words were (to me): do you have any more questions? This book explores these traces of my female line.