The Map Project: Where I Live

28/06/2017

An assortment of artists from the region, the nation and the world explore what ‘home’ means in an extraordinary new exhibition opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in July.

“We all have a connection to a place, a story or memory,” Gallery owner Anne Kempton said. “The Map Project: Where I live is a collaboration by textile artists on the meaning of the place they call home: the geography, culture, history and perceptions of being there.”

Multiple groups and individuals created 1.5 x 1.5 metre maps using textiles to represent their widely differing impressions of home.

UK glass artist Istra Toner began the map project in Croatia in 2013, which then travelled throughout Europe to the UK. It is now in Australia, where a growing number of textile artists have collaborated to create maps. The first was created in Broome in Western Australia in 2016 and others added as part of the 50 years of Belconnen celebrations in October 2016 in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Textile groups from the ACT created beautiful and contrasting works in a range of textile mediums for the exhibition and maps from the Skerray Isles and Wirral communities in UK are also on show. Hunter artists have added two more maps. The beautiful ‘Felted Dreamscape’ was made at the ‘Life and Living’ conference. The second is a fascinating quilt, ‘Newcastle Quakers Journey in the Hunter 1838’, depicting the local journey of Backhouse and Walker, who were sent on an expedition to investigate the conditions of Aboriginals and convicts in Australia.

NCEATA (Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists) have also contributed to the exhibition with a collage of stitched textile art interpretations of home. The map project will complete its Australian tour in Newcastle at the Timeless Textiles Gallery exhibition.

The nine works represented in the The Map Project: Where I live exhibition are:

  1. Bush Capital (Canberra: capital city by design, bush city by nature, beautiful city to live in, and our secret to share)
    tACTile is a group of six Canberra-based fibre artists, formed in 2001, who mount exhibitions every few years. Each artist contributed a prescribed number of tiles representing personal vignettes of living in Canberra, which were assembled to create their mosaic map.
  2. Belconnen in Felt 
    This work by 10 members of the Canberra Region Felt-makers group captures the prolific fauna and flora of Belconnen.
  3. Anthology 
    Created by eight members of the Canberra–based group, Fibre Basket Makers of the ACT, Anthology is a collection of visual stories of the Australian Capital Territory.
  4. The Village of Skerray Scotland 
    The sea features prominently in this work by seven fibre artists from the village of Skerray on the north coast of Sutherland in Scotland. Their work reflects the strong sense of place shared by this small, close-knit community. They say the coastline is their most significant boundary, rather than roads and fields. Their work features the sea and the two Skerray islands, the larger of which, Island Roan, used to be home to many of Skerray's families until it was evacuated in 1938. The smaller island, Island Neave or Coombe Island, was allegedly home to the Monks of St Columba around AD563. 
  5. Wirral Peninsula
    This work by five fibre artists from the Wirral peninsula, in the north west of England, captures the rich and dense history and contrasts of their home. As they climbed a sandstone hill, the map of Wirral spread around them, revealing field patterns, woodland, houses and industry, roads and ancient pathways. Wales and Liverpool are both in view. Wealth and deprivation are often side by side.
  6. The Felted Dreamscape
    Three Hunter fibre artists called on their personal connections to the land to create their circular felted work. They were also inspired by ‘The Secret of Dreaming’, a creation story by Jim Poulter, written with the blessing of indigenous elders; and by Rudolf Steiner's spiritual descriptions of the evolution of the earth.
  7. Quakers Journey in the Hunter 1838
    Hunter Valley Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) created this patchwork quilt based on the local scenes of Backhouse and Walker’s journey through the Hunter in 1838.
  8. Newcastle – NCEATA intersections
    Members of the Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists focused on the intersection of art and the environment to create a fabric collage using a map of Newcastle streets as the foreground feature Each of the artists used her favourite textile art technique to give a personal glimpse of "Where I Live".
  9. The Tapestry Couch
    This project celebrates the empowering stories of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. Created in the Friendship Garden in Auburn by people from all latitudes and longitudes, the tapestry is a map of people’s experiences within this special place. During the last 12 months, nearly 200 people have worked on the project and shared their stories. They learned the tapestry process from Sayd Shah Mamood, an artist, originally from Afghanistan, who has been honing this art form for 30 years. 

    This moving and beautiful object demonstrates how people can communicate, collaborate and compromise to create something extraordinary, despite not sharing a language. It is evidence of the power of community art projects to unite people. The Tapestry Couch project has been led by Tasman Munro, Jane Theau and Sayd Shah Mamood, and funded through Settlement Services International.

 

The Map Project: Where I live exhibition will be on show between 3 and 16 July, with the opening from 6-8pm on Thursday 6 July. 

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