A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #1
“During the depression of the 1930’s cheap labour was readily obtained…the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets…nor is it known where they came from” National Trust report c1963

 

The central component of A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 is to uncover and work with public and private archives concerning the complexities of the conditions and forces surrounding life during the Great Depression 1930-36 in the Blue Mountains. These art works  consider some of the social and political concerns that were pertinent then and remain so today- Identity, survival, resilience.

  • Who were the Craftsmen at the everglades c1932-35? Migrants, relief workers, unemployed, skilled or unskilled, age, address, family ties, religion?
  • How did they survive? What were their working conditions like?
  • What was required to keep working in the face of despair?

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #2
“The dry- packed ironstone walls were built from specially selected and hand shaped stones, most of which were the locally collected iron rich sandstone. The walls exhibit an extremely high quality of workmanship: in their massive stability, the skillful introduction of tubular stone foundations and in their aesthetic result. The physical labour required to create the walls and planting was daunting. Fortunately for the Everglades, the depression was at its height and manpower was readily available.” National Trust report c1963

Reports from the National Trust archives Everglades booklet, 1963 states that ‘The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades’ hired by Van de Velde during the Depression to work on his house and garden came from cheap labour that was readily obtainable, from the large number of unemployed… the number of men employed, or who the individuals were, is uncertain owing to a lack of information in the surviving time sheets and to the possibility of Van de Velde having paid some of them cash in hand…nor is it known where they came from…

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3 aligns with the political sub-texts often found in my artwork where I incorporate documents, photographic archives and contextual materials to reveal important social and political issues that may be obliterated, ignored, hidden or obscured by the passage of time.

 

A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1934 #1-3.
Mixed medium- Digital prints on Hahnemuehle photo rag paper, collage, hand written text, photography by Vivienne Dadour, digital photographic reproductions from Harold Cazneaux 1933-36 photo album, Blue Mountains City Library collections and Paul Sorensen papers, Sydney Living Museums, Caroline Simpson Library collections.
Written Text #3
“A team of 14 Scottish master stonemasons constructed the exterior stonework under Paul Sorensen’s supervision, a French tradesman manufactured the wrought iron onsite, piano makers were engaged for the house joinery, and as many as 15 or 20 labourers were employed at any one time in the gardens.” National Trust Report c1963

 – Vivienne Dadour

 

Vivienne Dadour: Biographical Note

A Biography of Place: – Artist Statement

Vivienne Dadour’s art practice since 1992 has investigated issues that confront political and social issues concerning the complexities of identity and cultural difference. This has led her to seek interpretive strategies that consider ethical alternatives that challenge aspects of mainstream political discourse while encouraging dialogue and fostering tolerance of religious and cultural diversity. In her practice she focuses on specific communities and often works collaboratively with other artists.

Dadour conducted ethnographic and archival research for contemporary art exhibition projects that combined images and text in- Projectdocument : Resilience in Times of Adversity c1939-50 Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre August 2019; A Biography of Place: The Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35 #1-3, Everglades, Leura, NSW, 2018; Correspondence: The War Illustrated c1939-1950 Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2018; Illustrated: Women, Work and War WW2, Explorers exhibition, Woodford Academy, Woodford, NSW, 2017; Blown Away Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2016; Connections-a Community Project Articulate Project Space, Leichardt, NSW, 2015; Displaced-Greta Migrant Camp, NSW 1949-60, commissioned by Maitland Regional Art Gallery 2014; Instincts, Traditions, Usages: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW circa 1920, commissioned by the Australian Lebanese Historical Society, Parliament House Sydney, 2010; Invisible Realm: The Syrian Quarter in Redfern, NSW, The Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross, NSW, 2004.

Dadour has exhibited her work nationally and internationally being included in many public and private collections including Australian War Memorial Museum, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New England Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and NSW University Art Collection.

http://www.viviennedadour.com/

Subverting the Machined Paradigms of Life: Linda Adair reviews ‘Imperceptible Resistances’ -Modern Art Project Blue Mountains

IMPERCEPTIBLE RESISTANCES — Modern Art Project Blue Mountains (MAP BM). At the Everglades Gallery daily 11.00 am until 3.00 pm until the Sunday 23 December at 3.pm. http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/event/everglades-gallery-imperceptible-resistances

Rochford Street Review recommend that any lovers of modern art in the mountains this week visit the Everglades Gallery, Leura, (pictured) to catch the final days of Imperceptible Resistances the first annual exhibition at this world famous site by MAP BM (Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains).

Curator Lizzy Marshall invited MAP BM artists to produce works which would demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit and subvert the networked or machined paradigms of life. In response to this call for works to be displayed in the Gallery within the world-renown Everglades National Trust site, 16 artists worked within their preferred mediums, to create imperceptible resistances to politics, conservation, personal freedom, and public spaces. This has resulted in a thematically coherent yet diverse body of work by the following featured artists: Vivienne Dadour, Frank Davey & Tess Rapa, Fiona Davies, Beata Geyer, Anne Graham, Danica Knezevic, Tom Loveday, Fleur MacDonald, Paul Mosig, Sean O’Keeffe, Naomi Oliver, Ebony Secombe, Rebecca Waterstone, and Gianni Wise.

The finished works play with, and subvert notions of, historical narrative and ownership, memory and power and, to paraphrase the invitation to the launch, posit heritage sites as places of resistance and change. Many works interrogate economies of oppression in surprising ways, creating beautiful or delicately unsettling pieces of art is the case with works by Fiona Davies, Anne Graham and Vivienne Dadour:

Fiona Davies continues her critique of the healthcare industry and its use of blood and plasma with another facet of the Blood and Silk Series Blood Farming/The Producers . (http://www.fionadavies.com.au/default4.asp)

Fiona Davies Blood on Silk: Blood Farming/The Producers, 2018

Anne Graham’s piece (part of a larger series) beautifully explores notions of music, instruments, nationalism and warfare using a bricolage of elements including a pianola roll of the Blue Danube waltz, a keyboard and the delicately arranged pendants that prove to be on closer inspection the gleaming shell casings of bullets. In this silent piece, Graham renders an iconic musical piece as a visual rather than aural experience, whilst summoning associations in the mixed media of the punch card technology of IG Farben’s Hollerith numbers which, via the Nazi  Holocaust fed into IBM and ultimately shaped the world we live in today.

Anne Graham System Hopping, 2018

Three of the Vivienne Dadour works in this show are site specific explorations of the Everglades itself, after much detailed research of the National Trust archive.The works foreground the magnificent and undervalued contribution made by the unknown craftsmen who worked on creating the terraces, walls and vistas that form the grand hard landscaping of this wonderful design by the acclaimed landscape gardener by Paul Sorensen.

Vivienne Dadour A Biography of Place: The — Unknown Craftsmen at Everglades c1932-35

The other works are of uniformly high standard and there are some wonderful pieces that would make great Christmas presents for yourself or someone you love a lot.

Imperceptible resistances builds on the successes of two other shows involving MAP BM artists: Explorers: narratives of site and Kiosk 3×6 projects. As Rochford Press is now based in the Blue Mountains, we were delighted to encounter MAP BM and to learn that it has a great 2019 planned under the guidance of President Fiona Davies, with the support of Vice-President Ian Milliss, Treasurer Beata Geyer and Secretary Alex Gooding with committee members Vivienne Dadour, Naomi Oliver and Rebecca Waterstone.

 – Linda Adair


Linda Adair is a Blue Mountains based writer and critic and one half of Rochford Press.

Contact details for Modern Art Projects – Blue Mountains can be found at https://www.modernartprojects.org/