Daisy in Spinifex, (2014) is a photo from Sandys  installation Veiled Strands of History in the 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial touring exhibitionThe artist appears here as Daisy Bates. Image manipulation by Sue Kneebone. Click on the smaller gallery images to enlarge. 

Veiled strands of history

My ongoing interest in landscape and history, researching and responding to aspects of our colonial past, is revealed within this work which looks at the story of Daisy Bates and the time she spent living in a tent at Ooldea South Australia, connecting with and learning about the Indigenous people in the region. I have been unravelling and stitching, bringing strands and fragments of this history to the surface. There are both light and dark aspects within her journey and character, made apparent in her clothing and her reports written at this moment in time.

The significance of Ooldea though goes beyond Daisy and for Aboriginal people it was an important source for water, a meeting place, a place to exchange items such pearl shell which was brought from Broome Western Australia to swap for the ochre available in that region. (S.A Museum)

In making this work I have used eucalypt dyes, bringing the stains and markings from the landscape to the surface of the fabric, over which trails of threads flow, reflecting on movement through country over time.

Collaboration underpins this work, from the support of the South Australian Museum who allowed me to view Daisy’s items held in their collection, to the people who loaned books, gifted materials for the work and those who took an overview of the progression of the work. Funding from Arts SA and the City of Port Adelaide Enfield assisted greatly. Thanks to colleagues, friends and family who have all shown support and interest during my journey of responding to a fragment of Daisy’s story.

Next stop on the tour: Gosford Regional Art Gallery.

Photographs by Michael Kluvanek except where otherwise noted.