Mapping Memory:

family, place and contemporary art

An artistic approach to history

I approach history from an artist’s viewpoint, more with the emotions than the intellect. My interest is in the intimate stories history tells about people’s lives in different cultures, places and times. Art offers me a way of connecting with those stories. As a child I was captivated by tales of my parents’ childhood experiences in both suburban and remote Western Australia. I have spent a lifetime in that landscape. My artworks in Mapping Memory tell stories about the history of people and places that matter deeply to me.

I grew up understanding that with a little imagination and makeshift materials, it is possible to create wonders. I was born into a family heritage of thrift and making do, an art my grandparents mastered through necessity. That underlying thread through my artworks over the years is a direct result of my heritage. Some of the artworks in the exhibition are related more generally to the various themes. Others respond directly specific family members and their experiences.

Sinclair family at home with a bed ridden Harry

The Sinclair family at home - reality was much bleaker than shown in the formal family photo.

Artwork Blanket for Harry

Blanket for Harry, Wendy Lugg Stitched artwork

My grandfather was a disabled Gallipoli veteran who spent the last years of his young life bedridden. An informal family portrait shows him lying on a cane lounge, his bedding’s bare mattress-ticking hinting at grim times. I made an artwork in his honour using old fabrics embedded with meaning - an army blanket, mattress ticking from an ancient pillow I found at a garage sale, and floral fabric excavated from under several layers of cloth added over the years to the box seat he had made from packing cases.

Len Easton on Coast Watch duties in Jurien

Len Easton, army signals unit, on coast-watch north of Perth near Wedge Island, 1942

Artwork Coast Watch 1 and 2

Coast Watch 1 & 2, Wendy Lugg stitched artwork

Two artworks depict my father’s WW2 coast watch duty north of Perth. The long lonely hours were eased by the beauty of the natural surroundings that he described in his letters home. The old fabrics used had been in my collection for some time, waiting for the right occasion. One of these fortunate finds was a cream blanket remnant with blue stains, perfect to reflect the water’s edge. I added shells collected from the beach that my father used to visit as a small child.

Read about Wendy’s approach to curation.

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