Interrogating Whiteness Project: Landscapes of Exile
Byron Bay Community Centre, Byron Bay NSW - 2006

Exchange in an old and new landscape
digital print installation.
Dilly Bag made of lomandra and black velvet ribbon.
Donated by F. Uden, Ballina 1966
Bundjalung Yanha room
Richmond River Historical Society, Molesworth Street Lismore

In amongst the collection of Widjabal tools in the Bundjalung Yanha room at the Richmond River Historical Society Museum, there are many objects that tell stories from the border zone – that place of first contact.

One is a finely woven dilly bag, made from dried lomandra found near the riverbanks, in a style traditionally used by Widjabal women. It features the additional adornment of black velvet ribbons, carefully tacked to the outside and to the rim. This collage of material and technique could suggest a dialogue that has occurred between a Widjabal woman and an early colonial white woman. Was the dilly bag a gift? Was it stolen? Was it collaboration? What was the exchange?

Ross Gibson describes ‘exchanges’ as the ‘commingling of various voice and styles of expression ... These encounters do not necessarily imply equality ... we need to understand the array of things, feelings, beliefs and ordinances that passed back and forth on the colonial ground.’
Gibson, R., Exchanges: cross cultural encounters in Australia and the Pacific. 1996: Historic Houses Trust

My great, great aunt was said to be the first white woman to live in the Booyong area near where I now live. I wonder about her interactions, if any, with indigenous women who would have lived near her. They would have been her only human contact while her husband acquired and cleared land. In her isolation she would have experienced exile in a strange new country while her indigenous counterpart was now, in part, an exile in her own country.

This installation acknowledges the Widjabal people of the Bundjalung Nation.

Interrogating Whiteness Project: A Stammer in the Language
SCU Next Art Gallery, Lismore NSW - 2006

Behind Blind
digital print and ephemera installation.
dimensions variable

The venetian blinds of our childhood spaces modified our gaze, allowing us to hide or reveal the external world. Behind the blind a set of formalities aligned our white lives in muted tones, set patterns and linear arrangements. Surveillance was permitted from behind and between the slats for possible aberrant behavior of neighbors and passers-by. Movements, thoughts, appearances, actions, alliances were noted and saved as evidence for later...

...the pedagogy of whiteness includes processes of embodiment infused within the regime of seeing. Garbutt.R., White on White: Surveying the Boundaries from Placing Race and Localizing Whiteness 2003: Flinders Press Adelaide Australia