Friday, June 25, 2010

Going back to go forward

Images of the studio above: samples using crochet to make Bilum style string bags. These are then stuffed with a range of materials to make three-dimensional forms which closely resemble gourds. Gourds (Calabasas) are the base material for the maté, a traditional communal drink from Uruguay also popular in other parts of South America.

Its been a busy first six months of the year for me. I came back from an amazing trip to my country of birth, Uruguay. I had my first major individual exhibition at Gallerysmith and I started my Masters by Research degree at the College of Fine Arts. I finally feel like things are starting to settle down and I can get back into making.

Starting my Masters degree has allowed me to really concentrate and think about what is at the core of my art practice. I've been doing lots of reading and writing whilst allowing myself to play and experiment in the studio. I like where the experiments are going but I have no idea where they're leading me.

My heritage has always been a source of inspiration in life and in my work. I've been looking though photos I took in Uruguay and Brazil. I've also been studying the old and tattered tea towels and crochet doilies my Abuela Elsa gave to me. I am thinking a lot about the new generations within our family, those born here in Australia and those in South America. The basis for the new work I am making is 'improving upon' what is already existing or what has come before. Its linked to the idea of inheritance, the collection of things (objects, photos, heirlooms, stories, keepsakes) that are passed down to us.

I am fascinated by the items that have been passed down to me and how they have been part of informing my identity. I wonder how I will add to this 'inheritance' to be passed on to the children I hope to have one day. I feel a sense of responsibility to keep my heritage alive and hold it in trust for the next generation. I think that's what I do through my art. I take colours, textures and ways of doing things from my family history and Afro-Uruguayan heritage, yet the process of making and creating is infused by my love of the Australian landscape and its natural beauty.