Mt Victoria resident Julie Ankers was so moved by our current exhibition that she has purchased an artwork in order to donate it. Thanks to Julie’s generosity, a ‘tactile memory stone’, the work of Wentworth Falls artist Sophie Conolly, is on its way to the National Centre for Childhood Grief in Sydney.
The memory stones are part of the exhibition Repaired Relations, which examines the issues of childhood loss, emotional isolation and mourning. These themes emerged as Sophie’s artistic process evolved, culminating in a body of work which is being shown publicly for the first time at Platform Gallery.
“I created the tactile memory stones after experiencing a closing ceremony at another grief centre, which involved the sharing and passing of stones that are symbolic of the healing that has occurred,” said Sophie. “This is my representation of those stones, which are symbolic of my grief, and I invite the audience to share and hold the tactile stones so that we may share the experience.”
Julie Ankers, who has purchased a tactile memory stone to be donated, said “I decided to make the donation while I was listening to an interview with Sophie. I was so touched by how Sophie was comforted by making them. I thought about how children who had lost a parent or loved one could receive the same sort of solace by holding the stones; being comforted by their tactile nature.”
Sophie uses materials that remind her of her childhood, from the seeds and leaves in her strands of Morse Code which spell out poems her father used to recite with her; to textured, tactile fabrics which offer up comfort; to family photos and letters that feel symbolic, recalling a pivotal time in her childhood. She uses techniques that traditionally have ‘women’s work’ connotations, such as sewing, embroidery and papier-mâché.
“With Repaired Relations I am sewing to repair and connect the past to the present; the good memories with the bad,” says Sophie.
The public are invited to pick up Sophie’s tactile memory stones are part of the exhibition, and feel their soothing quality for themselves. Repaired Relations is on at Platform Gallery until 6 November.