ritual objects

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Ritual Object : a new sculptural work in progress…

I live on a rural property in regional Victoria, Australia, and am surrounded by trees, wildlife, an amazing creek and views of Mt Buninyong and Mt Warrenheip – sleeping volcanoes! A few months ago, while walking around my 10 acre property I found a stone that reminded me of the shape of an axe due to its shape and that one edge was

particularly sharp. The find inspired me to think about tribal ‘objects’ and their demystification through colonialism, museology and ‘collecting’ (these were issues I explored in my PhD, so this artwork is a further exploration of this theme). These images are of a work in progress… I have attached the

axe-like stone I found to a stick of eucalyptus using natural jute. Traditionally this would have been attached using reeds, bark, animal skin, etc, and secured in place using sap, honey or tree resin as a glue. I then covered most of the stone with Australian Queen Elizabeth stamps from 1953 (I will need to double check that date, but they are pre decimal currency stamps which was introduced to Australia in 1966). The stamps symbolize the hijacking of dominate cultures over tribal/ethnic cultures and their associated artefacts.

The entire form has then been ‘decoupaged’ with a layer of PVA. I may do more layers of PVA as this gives the form a hard and plastic-like appearance, thus reverberating the objectification of such artefacts.

At this stage I would like to ‘display’ the ‘axe’ on a stand or in perspex box heightening the cultural ‘acquisition’ statement of the artwork.

While this work is an early experiment on the theme, I am happy with how it is evolving and would like to explore making a series of works along this theme.

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.