Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Hidden Exhibition due to Covid 19: 'Hidden Histories', Narryna, Hobart Tasmania

While embroidery during the 19thcentury  was for some women a  cause of confinement  for others it was a comfort. Rozsika Parker writes: 
The act of embroidering came to be seen as correct drawing-room behavior, and the content was expected to convey the social and psychological attributes required of a lady. On a broad level it was an index of gentility.

My work for Narryna consists of exploring social class through embroidery on linen and garments. This work is be accompanied by a sound piece: Narryna Gossip. 

You can find more information and hear the artists talk about their works on the Narryna website: https://www.narryna.com.au/online-exhibitions
Narryna seems to epitomise the success of the early colonial free settlers. Its neo-Classical fa├žade radiates an air of genteel respectability which is echoed by elegant interior furnishings. An atmosphere of domestic comfort, security and prosperity prevails. However, when one probes beneath the veneer, different histories emerge. Hidden Histories is a series of installation works that brings to light untold stories, focusing on the lives of women – both free settlers and convicts.
Hidden Histories is guest curated by Dr Llewellyn Negrin. Participating artists are Frances Watson, Janine Combes, Jane Slade, Julie Payne, Christl Berg, Irene Briant, Denise Rathbone, Chantale Delrue and Janelle Mendham.
In the 19th century, the home was identified with the woman as a result of the demarcation between the public and private spheres. Narryna’s interiors are a particularly apt location in which to explore these forgotten lives.

Memories of last year's voyage before COVID 19

In COVID19 isolation: drawing and doing embroidery for the  'Hidden Histories' exhibition at Narryna during voyage trough Egypt and Jordan seems so far away....

Monday, December 3, 2018

'Collecting Women', Exhibition Rosny Farm Art Centre, Rosny Tasmania 15 November till 9 December 2018

Collecting Women
Chantale Delrue

When I grew up, we seldom visited the doctor. My mother grew herbs for common ailments and I remember the books of the famous Dutch herbalist Mellie Uylderd and of Doctor Vogel took pride of place in her library. I learned basic herbalism from my mum and am still learning every day. Nature is forever fascinating!

Since the beginning of human history women have been gatherers. Traditionally women collected herbs and administered them through food and medicinal preparations. They had the knowledge of plants, which also gave them a certain power. Later the socalled ‘physical’ herb-women collected plants and sold them to quacks or apothecaries who in turn sold them at exorbitant prices. 

While learned men studied science and medicine at institutions, prohibited to women, it was often the women who had the practical knowledge of the properties of plants. Scientist such as Joseph Banks, Philibert Commerson and Frederick von Mueller, who got credit for their ‘discoveries’ and gave them Latin names, acknowledged that they got some of their knowledge from (unnamed !) women.

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of therapy. The largest percentage of the world’s population still depends on it.  In Western societies however, church and the College of Physicians had great influence and tried to ban the use of herbs. People became more and more reliant on medical institutions and as a result much of knowledge about the use herbs, traditionally transmitted orally by women, has been lost to the mainstream population.