More Than Words
West Gallery, Belconnen Arts Centre
Opening 6pm Friday 26 August 2022
26 August – 9 October 2022
When disturbing reports of elder abuse forced the establishment of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in 2018, I was interested in what was going to be said, and more importantly what might be done to ensure our society met its responsibilities to Australia’s ageing population.
Both of my parents died in aged care. They were well looked after but so many others were not, and are still not. Thousands of allegations of ill-treatment emerged as I followed proceedings. Commissioners heard from the aged themselves, family members, aged care workers, service providers, peak bodies, advocates and experts. Stories of abuse, cruelty, neglect and greed seemed never ending. The Commission concluded that “substandard care and abuse pervades the Australian aged care system”.
Begun in 2019 but delayed several times by Covid, this work is my response. It is impossible to condense such a large inquiry into a singular visual commentary. For this reason, I have placed testimony at the heart of the exhibition. Thousands of submissions were made, and hundreds of voices were heard in person. For many this took great courage. My intention has been to honour that courage through the slow process of embroidering some of these testimonies. And hoping that there is meaningful action taken, making them more than words.
About Kerry Martin
Kerry Martin is a visual artist currently undertaking a creative practice PhD at the University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. Her practice is motivated by a reparative aesthetic, an approach to art making that is designed to hold the viewer’s attention on the difficult subjects she explores.
Martin works with textile, photographic and print techniques, often combining these approaches. Her work focuses on manual methods, and she frequently employs the slow, repetitive, and meditative process of hand stitching as a fundamental element of her work.
She consistently examines questions relating to the human condition and areas of social injustice; her PhD research examines the issue of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. She is interested in how beauty, text, the repetition of mark making, and the multiplicity of display can be a powerful form of bearing witness.