- PhMuseum 2022 Women Photographers Grant
The Crimson Thread
Dates2020 - Ongoing
- Location Australia
The Crimson Thread is a photographic project that investigates the ubiquitous presence of Australia's colonial history and attempts to better understand the impacts of colonisation and white privilege on contemporary Australian society. Using speculative documentary photography, the work encourages viewers to question official histories and to consider how strongly our past still exists in the present. The title of the project is taken from a quote by Sir Henry Parkes, a British-born Australian colonial politician who described Australia’s connection to the British motherland as, “the crimson thread of kinship, which defined Australia as a bastion of ‘whiteness’ in the Asian region.”
The work to date has been created by retracing part of the Royal Tour of Australia made by Queen Elizabeth II & the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954. To document what the contemporary settler society of Australia looks like today, our ongoing connection to the British monarchy and to highlight how the incessant honouring of colonial history generates and sustains white privilege.
Alongside the documentary approach, the project combines four visual pillars. Australian landscapes by which history is reimagined through the eyes of British invaders descending on this strange new land. A series of objects representing the ideas of 'progress' that drove imperialism. Staged portraits to each depict a paradigm introduced by colonialism that persists in society today. The work is produced on 120mm film and these approaches are intertwined with archival material related to the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia and key political standpoints from throughout the 20th century, such as the White Australia immigration policies.
My plan is to retrace the entire 1954 Royal Tour of Australia made up of 57 towns and cities. The work produced over the past 18 months was made within the state of Victoria only. By retracing this route I want to see what the Queen saw, imagine how a person of this stature perceived her ‘ownership’ of this realm, try to understand the magnitude of the reception given to her by the Australian people at the time and to question the relevance or irrelevance of these archaic institutions which still exist. With the recent death of Queen Elizabeth, this is an extremely important moment for Australia to work towards building our own identity, one which could be built around a shared set of values.
The grant money would be put towards retracing the tour to create a photographic representation of each state, combined to make a coherent statement about the effects of colonisation on the contemporary settler society of Australia.