Un­com­fort­able truths in art

Wanneroo Weekender - - News - Justin Bian­chini

IT could be part of a gi­ant sea anemone.

An evo­ca­tion of ten­ta­cles sway­ing in the water. Of mes­meris­ing colour.

But Su­san Roux’s award-win­ning piece is in black and white, as if stranded on a beach. And its ti­tle, Wives, sug­gests the artist wants us to think about her stitch and paper-cov­ered ‘ten­ta­cles’ dif­fer­ently.

They in fact rep­re­sent wives – women taken as ‘sec­ond wives’ in the 17th cen­tury when the Dutch came ashore at Cape Town, WA and Jakarta, as Roux ex­plains.

“These are body-sized bol­ster cush­ions,” she said, touch­ing her work.

“The colonis­ers came from the Nether­lands; they were very un­com­fort­able sleep­ing on the ship so they slept with a bol­ster cush­ion.

“When they landed they took a sec­ond wife.

“The first wife stayed in the Nether­lands.

“So it was the com­fort of the man and the dis­com­fort and trauma of the sec­ond wife.”

Roux, who came to Perth from South Africa six years ago and lives in Wem­b­ley Downs, has cov­ered the bol­ster cush­ions with Can­son paper and thread to cre­ate a new tac­tile sur­face.

Artist He­len Roux’s award­win­ning work Wives.

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