Unravel - a history, Avi Amesbury
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Avi Amesbury: Unravel - a history

About the work

Unravel - a history explores our relationship as a society with the history of Cockatoo Island. A former imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory and gaol, personal connections to the Island are almost unnoticed, or removed from our consciousness.

How are the remnants of our past retained in our personal stories?

With the island's maritime industrial activity ceasing in 1992 a number of the tin smithing hand and bench tools found their way to the Tin Sheds in Balmain. They were to be sold only on the proviso that they would be used, and found their way into the artist's life.

Negotiations are currently underway to return the tools to Cockatoo Island.

The decals are from photographs taken on the Island by the artist in 2008.

About the exhibition

Patsy Hely, Senior Lecturer, Honours Convenor, Australian National University School of Art, curated the 2009 Craft ACT Accredited Professional Members' exhibition, unravel.

Someone sits pulling at a thread on a jumper, someone stares down a microscope at a speck on a slide, someone starts yelling on a bus; all are unravelling: their jumper, a scientific mystery, themselves.

Each year a curatorial premise is set and, as in past years, members have responded in a variety of ways. Some have identified ideas of unraveling in their usual production and here made this more explicit, some have used their regular materials and processes but responded in uncharacteristic ways, while others have used the exhibition to develop work totally outside their normal practice. The responses to the theme have been individual though some common themes are discernable, with an interest in investigating histories of place or family, and eco-political concerns perhaps the most apparent.

Read the catalogue essay by Patsy Hely. You can also view images of the exhibition from the Craft ACT gallery.



Avi Amesbury, Unravel - a history, 2009 (detail)
Image of Unravel - a history exhibited in Unravel at Craft ACT Gallery. The exhibition was curated by Patsy Hely.
Medium: Slip-cast, porcelain, decals
Installation: Series of wall tiles and vessels