In Needlework #2, I use a series of repeated gestures, pins, lead and graphite to explore my grandmother's expression of grief for the loss of my grandfather. In her heartbreak, she made hundreds of dresses from the same pattern – immersing herself in a daily and meditative ritual. She materialised her sadness by driving a treadle Singer sewing machine, and making the same dress over and over again.
To begin the work, I mimic my grandmother's actions – however, sewing through stacks of paper – and perforating each sheet to take thousands of individual steel sewing pins. I use my inherited sewing pins to start the work. My practice is structured – focusing each gesture – hand movement, to communicate sadness. Needlework #2 is fabricated from acrylic, paper, interfacing, lead and silk – heavy and pierced with steel. Its cubic container-like form is used as a metaphor for the body, pain, and sorrow.
Susanna Strati is an object and installation artist whose work explores expressions of personal identity through a vocabulary of grief and mourning. Strati's work takes on a commemorative or memorial format to memorialise lost traditions. Her art practice is increasingly concerned with recognising ways objects combined with gestures can function to fill the empty spaces left by the disappearance of traditional southern Italian mourning practices. Many of her installation-performances have developed from researching Catholic ritual, in combination with funereal and devotional objects.
Strati has participated in both international and national exhibitions and has been granted awards and residencies, including an Australia Council Residency at the British School in Rome, an Australia Council research grant for independent study in central and southern Italy, and an Australian Post Graduate Award for research.
Her work has been exhibited at galleries such as The British School at Rome Gallery, Object Australian Design Centre, The Macleay Museum, Annandale Galleries, Brenda May Gallery and Mop Projects in Sydney as well as being selected as a finalist in the inaugural Paramor Prize: Art & Innovation (where she was winner of the Mayoral Award), the Blake Prize, Fishers Ghost and the 2013 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
acrylic, steel, paper, graphite, interfacing, lead, silk
80 x 41 x 41 cm
Judges of the 2016 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize: Wendy Whiteley OAM (Ambassador for the visual arts), Rhonda Davis (Senior Curator at Macquarie University Art Gallery) and Barry Keldoulis (CEO and Group Fairs Director of Art Fairs Australia).
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