Border Crossings

SASA Gallery, University of South Australia &  Galway Arts Centre,  Ireland, 2016


Catalogue Essay

Border Crossings (Ireland/Australia) brings together artists Michelle Browne, Dominic Thorpe, Sandra Johnston, Julie Gough, Yhonnie Scarce and Sue Kneebone to investigate cross-cultural issues around the legacy of colonialism, ethnic conflict and the challenges of reconciliation that are relevant to both countries.

For Border Crossings, Sue Kneebone’s works circulate around the lives of her Irish Catholic ancestors who emigrated to Australia and America after growing up during the Great Hunger of 1845-1851.   These art works respond to letters, land records, photographs, stories and sites once occupied by her ancestors. Their quest for new opportunities was accompanied by the randomness of fate and a pervasive sense of loss and desire for reconnection to family now scattered across the world.  Installation tableau of unsettled domesticity seek to apprehend the ambitions of comfort and respectability of her Irish emigrant ancestors with unsettling undertones. By reimagining their past, Kneebone seeks to bring to light the familial stories and historical complexities behind the risks undertaken in crossing vast social and geographical borders to seek new lives.