Nativitas

New Mater Mothers Hospital Project, East Brisbane, Queensland, 2006/08.

Artist Statement

My vision for the concourse is to create a space that welcomes delights and provides a point of transcendence for all that enter the hospital. Each day the concourse is traversed by people who will have experiences that cover the full gamut of the human condition, the bringing of life, sometimes even loss and disappointment. Monumental as these experiences are for those concerned it is the very minute, ordinary most everyday nature of their activities that unite them; visiting, washing, praying, caring for, celebrating and being present for those in their care and of their family and social circles.

These thoughts have influenced my instinctive choices for visual stimulus for this project. From the outset I have felt there was potency to the motif of textiles and cloth as they are so intimately involved in the processes of care. Traditional Irish Lace provides a linking homage to the sisters who founded the original hospital and their many achievements. Lace in the Inishmacsaint style was referenced for its dynamic forms and three-dimensional appearance.

I am also very interested in the idea of Australian Medicinal Plants as a link to the very particular geographic and caring function of the hospital. A plant from the southeast Queensland region, Centipeda minima, was selected for its medical properties and charming, though unassuming form. The resulting artwork synthesises these two divergent traditional practices, that of lace-making and traditional plant medicine.

Publication

Nativitas is showcased in this extract of the Mater Hospital publication, 'Art for Life'.

Completed project: detail

Photography: Top images by Aperture Photography. Above lighting detail image by Mandy Ridley.

Process: concept development & fabrication

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Concept development photography by Mandy Ridley.