hAbitAt – my first solo/Australian arts commission

canberra in so many words

Canberra in so many words, March 11th 2013

I’m extremely chuffed (and a little nervous) to announce that I have been commissioned to make an artwork for the Canberra Centennial Birthday celebrations, “Canberra in so many words” on March 11th 2013.

The day’s events occupy the entirety of Lake Burley Griffin, with a myriad of communities represented in a wide range of artforms all celebrating the city through words. The Event Director is Geoff Cobham who has worked closely with Centenary of Canberra Creative Director Robyn Archer.

This is my very first commission as a solo artist, as well as being my first Australian commission – hence the nerves! My piece for the event is called “hAbitAt” and (like most of my work this year) explores how people relate to the locations they inhabit. I’m using this as an opportunity to get much better acquainted with my new creative hobby, textiles.

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be over in Canberra meeting & learning from the older community via their knitting and sewing clubs. I’ll be talking to them about how they feel about Canberra as a city, how long they have been there, where they come from if they are diaspora and what they think about how their city has changed in the last hundred years. I’ve always loved the older generation and the wealth of stories and insights they possess, so I’m very much looking forward to this part of the process.

I’ll then be making textile works (knitting, sewing and crochet) based on the words they use, inviting crowdsourced contributions to add to the collection, and hanging them via a series of tent-like shapes occupying the trees and grass areas by the lake. Home, James will of course be parked up nearby – my own personal habitat, officially open for business for the first time! My section of the day is from 12-7pm, so I shall be hosting a little tea party during the day itself where makers are invited to bring their sewing/knitting projects and mingle with the crowd.

I’ll blog more about the work nearer the time, especially the crowdsourcing call, but for now please check out the shiny new website http://www.oneverybigday.com.au which will tell you more about all the events happening on the day. I must say I’m especially excited about The World’s Longest Bubbly Bar (even though they positioned me on the other side of the lake from it, the meanies!) and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra playing the world premiere of Symphony No 3 – Century (2013, Opus 91) by Andrew Schultz, with live-drawing by the unstoppable Thom Buchanan (who was a “Subject” with me in the recent Sleep Residency). It’s going to be quite a day – I do hope you’ll join us!

Update: check dearCanberra for info on the artwork and hAbitAt – in pictures for the outcome.