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Inheritance

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Anglesey, J (2003) Inheritance. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The project centres on my own connections, through family, to the free middle-class women who
were the wives and daughters of colonial settlers in Tasmania. Whereas both convicts and the
upper classes have been documented in conventional histories, these women have been largely
silent. Their position in society appears to be overshadowed by that of their husbands and fathers,
their histories white-washed. Revisionist histories of women's place, beginning with Anne
Summers' Damned Whores and God's Police (1975), have attempted to redress the balance,
however Inheritance identifies a multiplicity of histories, in particular oral histories that bring the
middle-class colonial woman's private space into focus in a quest for identity.
The major characteristic of these histories is their ephemerality. Women's work — cleaning,
cooking, and sewing — also carries this characteristic, which is brought to bear in the series of
ephemeral installations that make up Inheritance. The installations are redolent with the
substances used in housework — tea, sugar, coffee, salt, washing powder. This pervasive sensory
experience calls up memories that make sense of personal experience — not just those things
consciously learned from mothers and grandmothers, but those ideas and practices absorbed by
being part of a particular practice or place. Site specificity has been an essential element of the
installations in the Inheritance series.
Patterns used in the installations take on the decorative forms of the domestic sphere, found in
carpet, fabric, clothing, and personal adornment. Feminine forms are often held in place by the
grid of architectural space, used as a metaphor for male hegemony and symbolised in references
to iron lace and other applied decoration found in the nineteenth century urban fabric of
Launceston.
The thesis contests the notion that the work of colonial free women was valueless because it is
and was unseen. The multiple 'non-traditional' histories told by family members and the
apparently mute physical remnants of their lives are materialised as an unconventional and
powerful Inheritance.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Artists, Arts, Women in art
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2005.

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:54
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2017 22:42
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