Thursday, September 9, 2010

Introducing Sheila Whittam - Workshop Participant, Adelaide, South Australia

Consecrated Elements. Watercolour and ink. Collage and conte. - 


Betty Sumner.  Oils on Galvanised iron.  image ;detail. 

Collaboration with Aboriginal Artist Betty Sumner for The Border Crossing Art  Project

Sheila Whittam 

C.V 2010 - Short version

  • Currently Artist in Residence at The Cedars in preparation for solo exhibition called Portrait of a House. August 6-Sept19th. 2010 at Hahndorf Academy.
2009. Graduated: Degree in Bachelor of Visual Arts, Adelaide Central School of Art,
Norwood. SA.
2009. St Peter’s Cathedral Art Prize. The Crypt. 
2008. St Peter’s Cathedral Art Prize.

Solo Exhibitions.
2007 Royal SA Society of Arts. Institute Building, North Tce/ Kintore Ave, Adelaide.
2008 South Coast Regional Arts and Heritage, Goolwa, SA: touring.
2008 South Coast Regional Arts and Heritage, Hahndorf, SA: touring.
2009.Carrick Hill, Springfield, Adelaide, SA. SALA.

Artist Statement 

In May 2009 I had the opportunity to stay in an Aboriginal Community - Mutitjulu situated at the base of Uluru. This great monolithic rock was situated at our front gate, and each day I set off with my equipment to try to capture the structure.

Many tourists walked around the base of the rock honouring the sign board information about how the Aboriginal community understand their sacred stories while others climbed the rock for a challenge. It was during this time that I caught hold of the reverence and awesome magnificence of being in that place.

Consecrated Elements has an over layer over the top of the initial work – Uluru. The over layering form is from ideas I saw in the Temple de la Sacrada Familia, a Barcelona church designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. The organic forms and designs within Gaudi’s buildings are influenced by nature.

The Gaudi - esk spires that hover over Uluru are ideas about the Catholic observation of the Mass, They speak of Host, the bread that is given in the most sacred ceremony in the Christian Church.

My use of architectural forms is metaphorical in which I analyse some of the question and the dilemmas we humans find ourselves as we struggle for being. Architectural ideas provide for me a psychological space in which stairways, tunnels, passages, large spaces, open or locked doors provide an imagery of the human journey.

The mixed media drawing materials including collage and the use a palimpsest/ic process which show the process of drawing and the under layers of working. This formal concern replicates the process of aging architecture which concerns the essence of time and the usage of buildings by its curious occupiers.

Artists Statement

 Collaboration between Betty Sumner and Sheila Whittam.

Work entitled, Strange Dream upon my Day Bed

I met Betty for the first time just a few days ago and she showed me her work which was painted in oils on a support: A sheet of galvanised iron. She explained the work to me as being about the women ancestor spirits who are guarding the land around Adelaide.

She explained further that her thoughts had been about the colonisation of Adelaide by the British which was devastating for the land. Betty explained that all the micro organisms were diminished due to being changed by blasting and quarrying and removing sacred stones and earth to be formed into roads and buildings in the new colony . One such building is the first church built in Adelaide 1838: The HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, which Betty’s people have had long standing concerns about because it was built from sacred stones.

I considered her story and told her that I was part of the colonisation! I am British. I asked her how she felt about that? She replied that she could hear my accent but we are all caught up in many difficulties, especially women. I think she may be an Aboriginal feminist!

In approaching this collaboration I decided the story is too beautiful to obliterate with my own over layering. I decided that I would connect her work with an interior room, with a long day bed and pillows. That day bed usually brings sunshine in to my complacent interior life. This time it brought a view that was strange yet comforting.

Text written by Sheila Whittam

The Earth's waters are both boundaries and pathways for peoples, objects and ideas.
Fumio Nanjo


Anonymous said...

how are you?

Awesome post, just want to say thanks for the share

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Just wanted to show my appreciation for your time and hard work