Michele England (Australia)
Title: A place to call home
Medium: cotton, wool & synthetic thread, reclaimed metal charms and beads, reclaimed hospital sheet on reclaimed linen
Size: 21 x 29cm
I made this work for all the little animals that have been supplanted by recent imports from other places. A place to call home, is an embroidery made on reclaimed linen, courtesy Art Aviso, and made for the exhibition The Garden of Loss and Triumph. Some stitched words tell of the Eastern Bettong’s (Balbo, in Ngunnawal language) plight. This little marsupial once roamed from southern Queensland to south-east South Australia. Sadly, invasive animals, habitat loss and agricultural pest eradication programs took their toll and it was declared extinct on the Australian mainland in the 1920’s. Stitched in between the words are hearts and other charms. These are reminiscent of milagros found in ex votos paintings, adding a sense of optimism and enchantment. Although sanctuaries such as Mulligan’s Flat, now exist. The Eastern Bettong cannot leave these safe places as the threats that eradicated them remain. Will the Eastern Bettong ever regain its place as eco-engineer in the greater landscape, to search for its beloved truffles? I hope so.
How ‘bout this weather? This seemingly innocuous question raises other queries and ideas in my mind and is reflected in my art. Most of my work involves painting, printing, sewing and assembling found bits and pieces; rarely seen together.
My work typically starts with collage. I utilise scientific, anecdotal and chance to create work. This intersection creates art that seeks to relay my concerns about damaged and derailed ecologies.
My hope is that others may become more attuned to the possibilities of change available to us all and create new patterns that promote harmony.