Photo Alison Clouston

Delving & Branching

Digital catalogue with essay by Alanna Irwin "In the soil and on the streets"

Delving & Branching handover ceremony

Listen to the whole soundtrack

“Delving & Branching: Alison Clouston & Boyd” Hazelhurst Regional Gallery curated by Carrie Kibbler, assistant curator Naomi Stewart

This exhibition brought together some works we have made over the past several years. Dominating the space, was the big Tree work “Dhalawala – Forest Country” (made for Cementa Festival earlier in the year – it was re-conceived for this exhibition as “Dhalawala – on this Country”). Around it Alison’s many constructions featuring wool blanket and bone and wood and wire were brought together in a temporary ensemble called  “Encampment”, whilst videos revealed their past lives, sometimes as performance, with Boyd’s soundtracks heard through headphones.

The main space was filled with the sound accompanying the big Tree of “Dhalawala – Forest Country”, brought from Wiradjuri Country with Wiradjuri Language onto the lands of the Dharawal speaking people. Dharawal elder Auntie Barb Simms Keeley welcomed the Tree and Dabee Wiradjuri elder and envoy, Uncle Peter Swain, in a ceremony where Peter invited visitors in an exchange of seedling trees. Peter would take the Wiradjuri seedlings back home for planting, and the Tree would now be “Aunty” to young seedlings of the related Callitris (native pine) species local to the Gallery (to be planted locally after the exhibition).

Now Boyd’s soundtrack included the Dharawal Language provided by Dr Jodi Edwards and Graeme Avery, sung and spoken by Jodi Edwards and Bruce Howell. The choral piece Boyd wrote for the Tree was sung in praise of the Tree, this time by a local choir made up of Sydney musicians, the Mycorrhizal Choir. The original choir, Eclectica of Bathurst, could be heard in the soundtrack in the Gallery.

“Wreath” created a counterpoint to the long horizontal line of the Tree, a big circle sheathed in bedding –sheets, wool blankets – and encircling vines. The “Encampment” brought architectural works laid along an array of camp beds, lurching Towers and tilted houses made from kangaroo bone, wire, wool blankets. The Backpack architecture of “NatureLovers” and “Migrator” leaned at either side, along with two bodyworks skinned in bedsheet and plaited rubber – all made for wearing, their construction defining a choreography evidenced in the videos.