The voice of fire shakes me awake, wild flowers bloom under trees that turn to ashes
Emma Rani Hodges
The Window, Belconnen Arts Centre
Opening: 6pm Friday 19 May 2023
Exhibition: 19 May – 2 July 2023
This exhibition will explore storytelling and re-worlding. In her book Woman Native Other, Trinh T Minh-ha writes about migrant women and subversive acts of storytelling. She asserts that the migrant is an expert storyteller, ‘having to reincarnate stories from the ashes of a past life’. Storytelling is a vital act that allows one to anonymously shape and present their identity without bias from an outside representative, such as somebody from a dominant culture commenting on a marginalised group.
In Thailand every home, public building, hazardous stretch of road or hospital has a spirit house. These shrines have multiple purposes, one is to ask for protection from otherworldly beings. The other is to invent a history of a place, often the former inhabitants of a home will be imagined and honoured through the act of caring for a shrine. Hence these shrines influence the local understanding of a space as well as providing potential for collective experience. I want to utilise this as they are an aspect of my cultural identity that is familiar to me but unfamiliar to an Australian audience. In each textile artwork, I incorporate imagery as well as a written prose. They depict scenes from Thai mythology as well as scenes from everyday life in Belconnen.
About Emma Rani Hodges
Emma Rani Hodges lives and works on the unceded lands of the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal and Ngambri peoples, they were raised in Charnwood and still reside in Belconnen. Their practice explores their mixed Thai, Chinese, Anglo-Australian heritage through a post-colonial and intersectional feminist framework. Working in the language of expanded painting, they draw on personal narratives and insert marginalised voices into the dominant cultural discourse of white Australia. Fluctuating between image, text and object, their work resists easy categorisation. They combine incongruous material (painting, textiles and found objects) to assert that their multiethnic identity can exist as a cohesive unified whole and challenge the view that individuals of mixed heritage are caught between two worlds.