Us Them Living together

Artist:1 Sabine Kussmaul
Artist 2:Tania Oakshot
Artist 3:Christine Toh

Hospitality is such a difficult, theoretical topic. In our group, it initiated discussions about our experiences with living in a foreign country and how interaction was happening between us as individuals and our new environment. Christine told us about her experience when visiting an asylum seeker who was detained in prison and how this country’s hospitality “procedures” impacted on him.

I started this artwork by thinking of visual topics in relation to the daily environment that people encounter: Bathrooms, school grounds, “being outside, e.g., a fence, a horizon”,.. and I printed them onto fabric as a sequence of photographs, all in a long row. Then, I added a second layer of fabric to this, made out of transparent organza and I painted and stitched organic, slightly repetitive rhythms onto this organza layer, like an ongoing pattern and rhythm.

Tania then took these pictures and layers and cut them into segments and assembled them in a new way onto a quilt.

Christine added silhouettes of people and images of spaces trying to establish an harmonious link between spaces and people from different spaces . She also screen printed in red the back layer of the quilt with repeated text : “us, them, living together”. The quilt then came back to me and Christine and I felt that some or much of the bright and different colours needed toning down to make one main visual statement become more apparent. We thought that the piece was not visuall coherent .

For me that represented a “state of the arts” that was typical for many such relevant issues in society/life that are at the heart of people’s concerns and to which many agencies try to find approaches, but no coherent end result or path forward is being found.We finally agreed that we would use the back of the quilt and that I would built 3D spaces from transparent fabric that could be stood or hung above the quilt . Taking drawing on transparent fabric into the three dimensions seemed a very important step for me to go (also apart from this project) and it seemed that this part of the project offered to use that opportunity.

Artist:Sabine Kussmaul

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