Dawne Fahey’s studio practice embraces painting, photography and creative writing as a way to explore and reconceptualise the intersection between cultural immersion, empathy, landscape, personal meanings and sensibility. Whilst in the United Kingdom, the artworks and auto-ethnographic poetry she creates will be framed within concepts of ancestral loss, diaspora and interconnected histories of pandemic landscapes. To situate these concepts, Fahey draws on the ancestral history of her grandparents and their forbears, who immigrated to Australia from the United Kingdom, at the height of the Spanish flu (1900’s) and the Asiatic flu (1800’s) pandemics.
Fahey’s Australian born grandfather served in Gallipoli during World War 1. After being wounded, he was evacuated to the United Kingdom, where he met her Nanna. He signed away his right of passage to return home with the Australian Armed Forces so that he could marry her. They lived in Surrey for the first two years of their marriage, where they had 2 girls. Her grandfather yearned to return to the Australian bush, thus they decided to immigrate from the United Kingdom to begin a new life in Australia. Just as their ship reached Australia, their first-born child died from the Spanish flu pandemic. After this loss her grandparents moved to Macleod, Victoria, where they raised six more children. Fahey says her Nanna never resolved the loss of her first- born child and also mourned the loss of her homeland. Using this emotionally-rich history ,Dawne Fahey wishes to explore and respond to the lands of the United Kingdom through the materiality of her visual arts practice and auto-ethnographic poetry.
The series of prints created at Stiwdio Maelor, under the direction of Dr Veronica Calarco, will explore the relationship between affect, embodiment, emotion, object and place. The process of imagining and visualising, are important outcomes that will seep into these artefacts, through an expression of affective responding, embedding embodied sensations into an awareness of place. Dr Calarco & and dawn Fahey will then present this new artwork collaboratively at the International Conference of Auto-ethnography in Bristol.