Haunting echoes from the past still resonate in the present
Sue Kneebone

The featured sculptural installations of Sue Kneebone emerge from her ongoing investigation into her South Australian colonial settler heritage. Her works are informed by local narratives involving memory and myth, yet also explore the present complexities of our shared colonial history.

Kneebone's disturbing list of materials - bone, hair, glass, blades and furniture - reference foreboding family stories from the frontier past. Neat Drop , 2014, respond to events surrounding the tragic murder of the artist's relation John Mansforth in 1850, north of Adelaide. The suspended male figure of Unnatural causes, 2010, alludes to stories relating to the alleged Waterloo Bay massacre of Aboriginal people near Elliston on the Eyre Peninsula, where her great-grandparents ran a pastoral property.

The artist also considers the depletion of our biodiversity since European settlement. For better or for worse, 2010, combines a 1890s wedding portrait of her grazier great-grandparents with an image of the night parrot (Geopsittacus occidentalis), a ground dweller close to extinction as a result of habitat destruction.

Through these diverse tales of the past, Kneebone confronts the ongoing cultural and environmental consequences of settler society.


Elle Freak