Talitha Kennedy • Shadow monument to the known but not seen: Ancestral boundary markers of Murray Island 2019

····· artist statement


Eddie Koiki Mabo said “Listen to us”. Oral tradition was not heard when England claimed terra nullius. To be granted Native Title that acknowledges historic ownership of their own country, Mabo and the plaintiffs of Murray (Mer) Island had to point out to Australia’s High Court evidence such as boundary markers. Ancient Meriam boundary markers include a network of mounds joined by imaginary lines which have become part of the landscape. If you are unaware, you cannot see these signs of ownership. If you cross past the boundary markers into someone’s land without permission it is trespass. I have hand-stitched soft black leather sculptures that refer to these mounds and the yam that is an important crop. This is an intimate monument, soft and malleable as the human body, more felt than seen. They are like a shadow of the knowledge of boundary markers. There is evidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander management of country all over Australia but you have to listen to know and to see.

····· Talitha Kennedy


····· artist's bio

····· Talitha Kennedy was born in Melbourne, lived in Darwin from 2005 – 2013 and currently lives in Sydney. She is third generation Australian from grandparents who arrived as refugees from Soviet-occupied Europe. Her art practice includes installation, sculpture and drawing with a focus on the poetic forces of entropy on the body, landscape and built environment. In 2011 she graduated Masters by Research in Visual Art from
Charles Darwin University, Darwin with an Australian Post-graduate Award scholarship.

In 2011 she was awarded a Qantas Contemporary Art Award which enabled travel
through Europe, USA and remote Australia. Kennedy has held solo exhibitions at Interlude Gallery, Sydney and Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts in Townsville as well as exhibiting in several group shows. She has regularly exhibited in Artist Run Initiatives, public and commercial galleries throughout Australia.

Talitha Kennedy, Shadow monument to the known but not seen: Ancestral boundary markers of Murray Island, 2019, Leather, thread, polyester fibre, silica gravel and wire, 45 x 120 x 85cm

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