10 June - 25 June
Opening night: 9 June, 6pm
Since July 2016, Ruth Halbert has handwritten a daily letter to the Prime Minister of Australia regarding refugees in Australia’s offshore detention centres. As part of her art practice, her letter-writing acts as a witnessing document of the plight of refugees and adds voice to an ongoing political protest.
Cast Away is the first gallery component exploring the relationship between the artist’s letter-writing and its remaking into simple handmade objects. A web of wool threads are suspended in the gallery, signifying layers of time and space. Strewn through the intricate web are small and fragile boat-like forms, made of paper fragments containing stories of participants’ – or their ancestors’ – arrival in Australia.
Walking through the installation, participants can find their boats and take them away, while new stories and boats will be added throughout the exhibition.
About the artist
Ruth Halbert was raised in the Western Australian wheatbelt where hand-making with natural materials was part of her 70s childhood. Her family’s religious practice and the feminist and social justice politics of the 80s also influence her art practice. Halbert’s first career in science and computing appears in her work through number play, patterns and experimentation. Using thread and fibre, textiles and text for their sensual, tactile quality, their history, symbolism and meaning, she chooses local and recycled materials and making by hand using a variety of techniques.
She graduated from a Contemporary Art degree in 2012 and has worked full-time as an artist since then, including residencies in rural WA and Sweden and exhibitions in Western Australia. She currently lives and works on the South Coast.
Image: Ruth Halbert, Laceboat, 2016. Paper, hand-knitted lace, thread. 12 x 22 x 10cm.