Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday's Child /1




Wednesday's child is full of woe.... 
As on ongoing blog story, I will tell you about the many Wednesday children who were "housed" in the Industrial School in Newcastle , NSW, Australia between 1867 - 1871 and how their stories are being retold this year  to mark 150 years since this school began. 

Background Summary ... 
The Newcastle Industrial School was established on 6 August 1867 in the former Military Barracks on the Newcastle Government Domain. The school for females was established under the Industrial Schools Act 1866.  From 1869 the site was shared with the Newcastle Reformatory School for Females. .It was Australia's first industrial school for girls; that is, an institution defined by legislation and paid for by the government as a place of detention for children charged with neglect, wandering, street-trading or being 'uncontrollable'. It used the convict-built Military Barracks building. From 1869 the site was shared with the Newcastle Reformatory School for Females. In 1871 the institution was relocated and became the Biloela Industrial School at Cockatoo Island.

The Project 
The art project is called "Stitched Up" and I am very fortunate to be co-curating this project which has three parts 1) Textile Art Exhibition of 25 artists' responses to the girls' stories  2) Community Art program - stitching a fabric book about the girls  and 3)  a performance  and photographic art work  of first person narrations. 

My Contribution 
As one of the 25 artists, I am working on an installation of 193 stick dolls, representing the inmates of the Industrial School and the Reformatory School. The technique is similar to   the way  dolls were made with few resources in 1800's ( a stick and some wrapped scraps) and most of the girls are depicted with their "hands tied" - symbolising their predicament. 



Sample of the dolls for "Stitched Up"