Uprooted, 2014

MEDIUM natural and man-made ropes, vines, animal vertebrae, ink and acrylic paint
DIMENSIONS 150 x 150 x 200cm

A deliberately unsettling piece, Uprooted combines various found objects to suggest violent upheaval and dispossession. Eerily organic and helplessly fragile, the sculpture was conceived with the intention that it would become easily camouflaged within the Australian bush, the splaying tendrils that dangle from the ominously hung vertebrae seeming to flail desperately for the right soil in which to earth itself. Having migrated from the United States as a child, my awareness of the country’s shameful history of dispossession of its indigenous peoples by European colonists grew in tandem with my own burgeoning sense of my connection to my new homeland, particularly the forests of Tasmania where I spent my adolescence. Keenly aware of the fraught politics that might potentially surround such a work, Uprooted was created both in a spirit of cautious awareness, but also outrage at the prejudice and degrading treatment of both the nation’s oldest inhabitants and its newest refugee arrivals. My use of red, black and yellow of the aboriginal flag is made in this spirit, the sculpture perhaps sharing the terrifying space of being disconnected, literally unearthed, in the place where it belongs.