The Materialisation of Testament
West Gallery, Belconnen Arts Centre
Opening: 6pm Friday 30 August 2024
Exhibition: 30 August – 13 October 2024
The Materialisation of Testament is the culmination of four years of research, and the artistic component of Kerry Martin’s creative practice PhD undertaken at the University of Canberra between 2020 and 2024. Based primarily on the reports of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2012-2017), it seeks to provide another platform to continue the discussion around, and examination of the Catholic Church’s disturbing history of child sexual abuse in this country.
Working with a reparative aesthetic, an approach to making beautiful art about brutal topics, it asks the viewer to consider what it might look like if the Church wore the shame of its offences… shame that has so often been unfairly borne by its survivors and victims.
Although the Royal Commission ended in 2017, the impact of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church continues to be felt, and the need for survivors and their advocates to continue to be heard has not diminished. This exhibition is a small, but sincere attempt to keep the conversation alive.
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 artistic practice and research interests focus on how art can facilitate continuing conversations around issues of social injustice. Her PhD examines the issue of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia and her first solo exhibition in 2022 was a response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
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 in her work. 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.