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Tracing the Swan

Holmes à Court Gallery @ Vasse Felix
28th September 2020 - 7th February 2021
Curated by Laetitia Wilson

'Tracing the Swan', curated by Laetitia Wilson, follows the story of the settlement of the Swan River Colony with the swan as the central character in artworks about race, difference and the unexpected.

In a play between fiction and reality, the black swan is traced throughout the history of the colonisation of Western Australia up to the present day. From historical to contemporary artworks, the exhibition explores how WA was presented to potential settlers, how its landscape was impacted and has changed over time, and how the swan stands as emblem of WA against this tide of changes in its real environment.

ARTISTS: Kelsey Ashe, Deborah Bonar, Portia Bennett, Lance Tjyllyungoo Chadd, Frederick Clause, Jo Darbyshire, Valentine Delawarr, Eva Fernandez, Norman Hawkins, W.J. Huggins, Tony Jones, Johannes Keulemans, Yvonne Kickett, Bethamy Linton, Walter Meston, Alan Muller, Ron Nyistzor, Ross Potter, John Sands, Robert Seymour, Ernest Stocks, John Tallis, Rover Thomas, Charles Wittenoom. 

Kelsey Ashe; Artists Statement

Art Work: 'Leda and the Swan'

Screen Printed Linen in Indigo, Henna, Katazome Paste.  300cm x 70cm.

Acquired by the Janet Holmes a Court Collection.

'Leda and the Swan' comes from a series of 4 Screen-Printed Scrolls printed in the Japanese 'kakejiku', (hung scroll) method using traditional ‘katazome’ (rice paste) and natural dyes, made by the artist.  Each scroll is subtly different as areas of dye, gum and resins subtly bleed.  


The prints can be exhibited as ‘kakejuki’ or in a contemporary format of geometric origami folded ‘emakimono’ (narrative hand scroll).  The artist studied how Japanese Aesthetics have influenced Australian Landscape depictions in contemporary art during her PhD Art (2018). 

The layering of printed motifs mixed with the dimensions created through ‘origami’ folding of the scroll, alludes to the multi-dimensional and layered history of the site of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River); where at first there is the deep time of the Whadjuk Noongyar People; then the Colonial settlers and the introduction of European Myth, to the current view of Perth and the future; de-colonisation.

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