Gwen Harrison & Sue Anderson
Phantomwise Flew the Black Cockatoo (2017) and Howl for a Black Cockatoo (2015)
are artists’ books collaborations between Gwen Harrison and Sue Anderson of Impediment Press, Sydney.
Phantomwise Flew the Black Cockatoo (2017)
The little known or unacknowledged ‘other’ history of Australia. Existing silent and invisible beneath the glorious and optimistic chords “golden young and free”, the forced and murky institutionalisation of hundreds of thousands of young children and women had been a government policy entrenched in Australia since colonial times. Orphanage, Children’s Home, Training School, Industrial School and Asylum; all equate to prison. It was just the way things were, and as often happened one would lead to the other. One ‘closed system’ to the next ‘Wonderland’.
Measuring 52.5cm x 37cm, the scale of this work is large, similar to its companion-piece Howl for a Black Cockatoo with the intention to give monumental status to the subjects of this real-life story.
Original sugar lift and aquatint etchings on 300 gsm Magnani ‘Revere’ 100% cotton rag paper. Letterpress printed on 1920’s Potter Proof Press. Handset in Caslon lead type from The Printing Museum, New Zealand. Various antique wood type.
Limited edition of 25 books, hand bound, with abstract design of black and yellow kangaroo leather over an etching on Magnani ‘Revere’. 32pp. 52.5 x 37cm. Signed.
Howl for a Black Cockatoo (2015)
Lewis Carrol’s Alice explored and questioned her place within a fantastic world. She was able to confront its bizarre authority at a time when many hundreds
of young girls on the other side of the globe were denied their freedom when they were Incarcerated in the old colonial prison, renamed “Biloela”, the
Industrial School for Girls on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. The 1873 Inquiry into “Biloela” outlines self-indicting staff and government authorities’ accounts of the systemic abuse, degradation and neglect of those children, the same failures and methods used then have continued unabated throughout the country since its colonial beginnings.
Original sugar lift etchings made on copper and steel plates on Magnani ‘Revere’ 300 gsm 100% cotton rag paper. Letterpress printed on 1880 Albion and 1920’s Potter Proof Press. Handset in Caslon lead type from The Printing Museum, New Zealand. Various antique wood type. Limited edition of 25 books, hand bound, with abstract design of black kangaroo leather over an etching on Magnani ‘Revere’. 32 pp. 54 x 31 x 2cm. Signed.
Bonney Djurik and Parragirls
In collaboration with Sue Anderson and Gwen Harrison
Living Traces (2016)
After the completion of Howl for a Black Cockatoo Sue and Gwen were invited by Parragirls founder Bonney Djuric to become part of a collaborative team working with twelve women who were ‘young former residents’ at Parramatta Girls Home more than 50 years ago.
The collaboration resulted in “Living Traces”, a programme that produced this Artists’ Book, Living Traces, as well as an exhibition of performance, film and prints – a Parragirls part of the ‘Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Memory Project’. The body of work aims to “engage with and interpret institutional sites of confinement that would place former occupants at the centre of the process rather than at the periphery as subjects, or footnotes”.
Each print incorporates traces of scratchings left by young girls on surfaces in the institution and excerpts from state welfare records kept on them. Graffiti, traces of coded language – written while in ‘segregation’ (solitary confinement) as an act of solidarity and resistance to the cruelty they suffered at the hands of their keepers.
Living Traces captures otherwise unrecorded memories of the institution, buried under trauma and shame, before they are lost forever.
12 unique intaglio collagraphs, photopolymer plates for graffiti and text. Edition of 12. 20pp. 35 x 25 x 22cm. Dated, not signed. Colophon included.