Chris Aerfeldt, Roy Ananda, Carolina Facelli, Irmina van Niele, Lee Salomone, Kylie Waters and Sera Waters
11 Feb – 19 Mar
By Kelli Rowe
Home Stories is born from collaboration between a range of artists from a diverse ethnic background, Vivonne Thwaites and the Adelaide Central School of Art, and the Migration Museum. Each of the seven artists involved in the project were asked to select an object from the Migration Museum and create artworks through responding to the object and its history. Selected objects range from John McDouall Stuart’s jerky, an Italian espresso maker, a banner made by the Estonian community and a fake beard worn by a small boy as part of a parade commemorating the British Empire. Artworks range from paintings and sculptures to embroidery and decoupage. The objects appear alongside the artworks, providing both an interesting comment on the interaction of history and art, or more specifically museums and galleries, as well as on the process of artistic production.
The exhibition allows the problematic nexus between history, narrative and identity to be exposed and interrogated from multiple angles. On one wall is a collection of small drawings, digital prints, mixed media sculptures and defaced photos depicting men and their beards by Roy Ananda. There is a black and white photo of a man wearing an oversized paper beard like a dress, a beard made of bandaids and poster of who’s who of the bearded world. The seemingly insignificant beard becomes, in Ananda’s hands, a symbol of fictionality, functionality and empire.
Another artist who recognises the fictionality of history and memory is Chris Aerfeldt. Growing up in suburban Adelaide to parents born in Estonia, Aerfeldt says, gave her a sense of living in one culture but coming from another. Having never been to her parents homeland, her paintings reflect the conjured up fantasy world of Estonia, a ‘land of birch forests, lakes, wild berries, romantic snowscapes and beautiful women in folk costumes’ (exhibition catalogue) alongside the reality of Adelaide suburbia. For example, one of Aerfeldt’s paintings (pictured) depicts the head and shoulders of a large doll in folk costume that obscures the view of a suburban house. It is painted in acrylic and oil with blurred lines and lowly saturated colours, making the unusual scene appear like a mirage, a dream or a fictional fantasy.
Carolina Facelli finds a quite different approach to narrative and history in her delicate sculptures – The Fusion, The Origin and The Fortune Teller. In the exhibition catalogue Facelli states that her interest in the Espresso machine that inspired her work came more from its story and its culture than its physicality. Coffee becomes the vehicle through which Facelli reconstructs the narratives of journey of the many people who have migrated to Adelaide. Her finely sculpted vessels made of archival board are intricately designed yet simple to view – an interesting metaphor perhaps for the rituals and customs that inform so many individual and collective stories.
Home Stories is being exhibited at the Adelaide Central Gallery, 45 Osmond Tce, Norwood from 11 February to 19 March. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 11am-4pm
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