14– 27 November 2019
Join us for the exhibition opening on Friday 15 November.
Traditional quilt patterns such as Broken Dishes are a recurring theme in Pippita Bennet’s work, as is the Wagga Blanket tradition – remnant and reused pieces of fabric, food bags and clothing stitched together, to provide warmth, comfort and beauty. In juxtaposition to this are Aboriginal possum skin blankets, painstakingly created, highly treasured and also warm and comforting.
Bennett creates landscapes of cloth and paper to explore relationships between people and place; in particular her own connection with place.
“I am certain we carry an imprint of the journeys of our ancestors within our being; their struggles and their joys. While I don’t believe these define who we are, I do believe they leave a ‘watermark’ in our unconscious memory. My research and my art practice is an attempt to build my understanding of who I am in my landscape by bringing this memory into consciousness.”
Bennett’s ancestors - convicts, gold followers, assisted and self-funded immigrants – arrived in Australia between the 1820s and the 1920s. Many lived on Darug and Wiradjuri country and participated in changing that Country. Archives and oral history have helped Bennett to create stories of these people and places in this ancient landscape. She visits the places where her ancestors lived, often camping, walking and sitting.
“My art is my stitched and pieced note taking, a record of my thinking as I investigate.”
Using ‘found’ or repurposed cloth and paper, Bennett dyes, prints and writes on these, often on site, using local plant material. Some pieces are altered in shape as they pass through the dye pot. They are rarely ironed before stitching, rather Bennett uses the bumps and creases and takes advantage of any uneven shrinkage to create a geology and landscape of cloth.
“In this textile landscape I create uplifts, crevasses, rivers, weathering and erosion. My work can operate as maps of place, people and time. Stains or marks left by previous use and by the dye process are akin to the marks left by natural and people-made processes on the landscape. Worn cloth is an opportunity to mend and patch and make amends for that which has a history. Not much is new and little is wasted.”
“Sometimes my thoughts take my needle for a walk. Sometimes a walked stitch forms an image or a piece of text. Words represent people, places or thoughts. The viewer is free to connect the evidence I have left and create their own story. Another researcher or another family member with a different perspective would create a different story.”
“Broken Dishes references damaged lives and Country; sorrows, scars, family violence, and struggle. It also refers to the beauty that can lie in what is broken and how we can work towards making something whole out of what is fragmented.
Join us for the exhibition opening at Platform Gallery at 5.30pm on Friday 15 November 2019, a combined opening with Amy Bell's The Complete Works of Daisychain.