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The Spaces Between Us

Monday, 17 October 2016

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Dr Amanda Gardiner,  ECU South West's postdoctoral research fellow,  is currently coordinating an interdisciplinary research project linked to her work on infanticide in colonial Western Australia.

One of the results of the project is an exhibition that will be opening at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery on Friday 2 December 2016.

The exhibition includes work from our own Helen Seiver and Sarah Mills. It will be opened by Sharon Tassicker who is the Collection & Exhibitions Manager of the Janet Holmes à Court Collection and will include an acoustic performance of original work by the composer Dr Mace Francis and the trombone group 'Bonetet',  also comprising Blake Phillips, Catherine Noblet and Rob Coleman.

Sarah Elson, Eva Fernandez, Mace Francis, Simon Gilby, Sarah Mills & Helen Seiver

Curated by Amanda Gardiner

The taboo nature of mothers who kill their children can be overwhelming. The weight of this type of historical information can potentially burden the creative response with pre-conceptions; the suffering and death leading to simple articulation of the case studies. By allowing artists space for immersion in the understanding of a colonial woman’s life, The Spaces Between Us seeks to transcend historical narrative, and breathe life into the spaces between what is known and unknown about women who committed infanticide in colonial Western Australia between 1829 and 1901.

Little documentation survives to provide evidence of the lives of colonial women who committed these crimes.  Many of the women were not literate. As these cases often occurred within narratives of secrecy and abuse of power, compounded by experiences of sexual trauma or indiscretion, their crimes have been submerged under fear and shame.

With the support of Amanda Gardiner, the six artists in this exhibition have used archival, visual and performing arts research to re-contextualise such cases of infanticide. The exhibition has emerged both as a form of historical witnessing and a nuanced invitation for audiences to engage with topics of violence and trauma.

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