New South Wales
Watters Gallery, Sydney
30 October – 16 November 2012
New South Wales
My maternal family heritage traces back to British convicts Robert Forrester and Isabella ‘Bella’ Ramsay. Robert and Isabella were both separately convicted for crimes of theft and subsequently received sentences of transportation to New South Wales.
I have been looking at Australia’s colonial history and the journey of the First Fleet for some time now. It interests me from both a personal perspective and also from a broader view point as an Australian as it was these convicted British men and women that together formed the origins of what has become modern day colonial Australia.
In 2012 I relished the opportunity of having a 6 month studio residency at The Ropewalk in North Lincolnshire. During this time I began the process of collecting images relevant to my British ancestry. On various road trips through the north of England I gathered drawings and photographs of places that are seen as central in the story of the lives and convictions of Robert and Isabella.
Upon arriving in the harsh environment of New South Wales, both Robert and Isabella would have reflected back on their former lives in England. Their memories of the motherland may have been fond or far from it. It is impossible to know. I have tried to take a contemporary approach to documenting some of the places that would most likely have held familiar memories for them. Actually being located in the North of England was essential for gathering the images and the aesthetic that underpins this body of work.