Showing in NCCA’s Boxset Tin Lids is an assemblage of embossed tea canister lids which were given to the artist by a friend, and painted with indigo blue oil paint. The tin lids come from London as does the artist whose grandparents were Cockneys from the poorer East End of London. Products such as tea and indigo were once imported by boat from the far East into the East India Docks, now ‘Docklands’ area of London. ‘Tin Lids’ is also Cockney slang for ‘kids’ and so this work encapsulates both Dowell’s London childhood and heritage as well as her philosophy of recycling and repurposing objects for her art.
‘They [the lids] are all the same’, writes Dowell, ‘but each one is different, like my pop William Eedle who had 6 siblings, and my nan Emily Cox who was the oldest of 11 siblings’. Dowell relates the repetitious patterning of numbers and letters on the lids to the work of Yayoi Kusama, with the late Rosalie Gascoigne also a conscious influence in her use of resonant found objects.
Alison Dowell is a Darwin-based artist and art teacher who has extensive experience in community-based arts. She works in a range of mediums and has exhibited in a range of gallery and public art/event settings. She was the overall winner of the annual Rights On Show Award in 2013, and of the Pine Creek Art Acquisition Prize in 2015.