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They do not go away from our reflection and memory easily. In fact, we may hang on to them intentionally and memorialise their value in our lives. (John Harvey, 2002)

‘The main impact and conceptual idea of this body of work comes from loss of family and friends in 2014’, writes Larrakia artist Nadine Lee of Healing, a work which she produced as part of her visual arts studies at Charles Darwin University. ‘I wanted tactile mediums to work with’, she writes, her use of mica, muslin and driftwood allowing viewers ‘to touch, remember and reflect on the family and friends that have passed away, as if to have contact with each of them respectively for the last time.’

The mica in this work comes from Mica Beach on the Cox Peninsula in Larrakia country, where the Indigenous-owned and operated Balunu Foundation runs spiritual and cultural healing programs for Indigenous youth and families. The work’s fabric support is muslin which Lee likens to ‘skin that breaks down over time like our skin’.  ‘Staining the muslin with tea’, writes Lee, ‘is a tribute to my grandfather who only drank black tea’. Lee cites two key influences in this work: the textile-based installation and oral history storytelling in the work of Murri artist Dale Harding, and the large-scale mixed-media memento mori expressions of fellow Murri artist Danie Mellor.

Lee is in the final year of a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) degree at Charles Darwin University, with her practice developing an interest in textiles, installation, jewellery and film.

Harvey, J, ‘Losing loved ones to death’, in Perspectives on loss and trauma: Assaults on the self, SAGE Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, California, 2002, p. 31.

Memento mori: Latin for ‘remember to die’.


Nadine Lee, ‘Healing’ (detail), 2014, mica on tea-stained muslin, driftwood; image courtesy the artist; photo: Fiona Morrison

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