The installation, Interior Decoration, investigates the effects of untreated post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by veterans and their families, an overlooked factor in Australian military history, our national identity. It is embedded in Rio Vista, the heritage residence built during Sunraysia district’s early history. Constructed from domestic objects and materials, the the military is domesticated, the domestic militarised. The artworks are resonant of problems unspoken, respectability masking dysfunction. These scenarios are repeated across Australia when strangers called ‘Dad’ return home to begin their civilian lives.
Dr Bonita Ely, born Mildura 1946. Brought up on a Soldier Settlement block in Robinvale, her transdisciplinary art practice pioneered environmental and socio-political art in the 1970s in England, New York and Australia. To contextualise these enquiries she investigated Australia’s Indigenous people’s ownership and cultures. Her feminist critique must not be forgotten. For example her Dogwoman series (1980s) exposed history as gendered narratives. Artworks in 1990 imagined futuristic genetic engineering – ‘snabbits’ – an edible hybrid combining rabbit and snail. Installations in Los Angeles conjured nature’s power in response to the 1994 earthquake. Public artworks in Hue, Vietnam (1998, 2002, 2006), inspired her PhD thesis on the influences of Taoism on contemporary art. The solar powered Thunderbolt, commissioned for the Sydney Olympics Tenth Anniversary used light to signal the community’s energy consumption (2010). Associate Professor in the University of New South Wales Art & Design faculty, she is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane.
Represented by: Bellas Milani Gallery, Brisbane
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
This project was assisted by a grant from Arts NSW, an agency of the New South Wales Government and supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments. The program is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).