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JUNCTION 2010 FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A purler of an installation

Jump into the rabbit hole (aka Town Hall Reception Room) and step into the still life of 1950s suburbia in The Knitting Room.

This is Andy Warhol meets Alice in Wonderland and the CWA, and I love every woolly inch of it. Artists Robyn Carney, Gwen Egg and Shirley Johnson have worked with the residents and community of Uniting Aged Care homes to knit, stitch and crochet a life-sized recreation of a 1950s home in all its colourful and iconographic glory. Coming from an era of 'make-do and mend', these craftspeople have taken up the call to 'knit your bit' to giddy extremes, with life-sized structures, people and objects skilfully and magically - and sometimes humorously - created for a nostalgic experience which is as visually rich and whimsical as it is slightly surreal.

Pass through the picket-fenced front yard, complete with its yellow letterbox, standard roses and milk bottles waiting collection, through the always-open front door, and you immediately see how objects can reveal culture, personality and status. This is post-war working-class Australia when Dad fell asleep in front of the fire, beer in hand and Fido at his feet; when there was always a homemade fresh-cream sponge on the table (alongside the iced vovos) and a cake tin on top of the fridge to store it; when high-art meant ceramic swallows flying across the lounge-room wall; when everyone had a quarter-acre block with its boxed vegie patch, full to the brim with roly-poly carrots, cauli and beetroot, and a curler-clad neighbour popping over the fence for a chat.

The Knitting Room is pop art virtual reality and a joy for anyone who yearns for a charming trip into to a sweeter, simpler time in our fair isle's history. But it's more than that: it reminds us that art has a role in creating memory, identity, and place; and that our community elders deserve recognition and respect as carriers of our history and stories.

Cast-on The Knitting Room to your list of must-see exhibitions and experience how the 1950s are alive and well in the yarn-bombed Reception Room of Launceston's Town Hall.

1 comment:

ClaireyH said...

This is the kind of exhibition that everyone loves. How about some photos? It sounds like a big woolly hug of an exhibtion.