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In the Panopticon 2019-21

The work in this project is a response to the historic buildings of the National Art School in Sydney. Built as Darlinghurst Gaol in the 19th century the buildings formed an innovative panopticon design intended to reform inmates through constant surveillance, isolation and labour.

Penal labour for men included tailoring, carpentry, weaving, metalworking and bookbinding to equip individuals with skills that might keep them away from crime on release.  Women prisoners were mostly occupied with mending and laundry although some did tailoring and fancy needlework.

To acknowledge this work – and its resonance with the students who came after them – I engage with the clothing that prisoners made and wore, as well as the buildings they worked in. Images of the prisoners clothing and faces appear in some work, recalling another innovation: the photographic prison record.

Drawing on these images and vernacular materials used at the time, this project re-forms and re-members the prisoners. It evokes their ways of working, the constraints they experienced and their humanity as individuals.

Ref. Hope in Hell: a history of Darlinghurst Gaol and the National Art School by Deborah Beck, 2005 Allen & Unwin

Panopticon installation view.jpg

Photo: the artist. Installation view 2021.

Black Mariah front
Black Mariah side

L: Hanging, 2020. Installation view. Photo: the artist;

R: Black Mariah, 2020. Photo: Peter Morgan.

Cellblocks installation view.jpg

Cellblocks 2020-21

Photo: Robin Hearfield.

Collage 1.jpg

L: Collage#1, 2020; R: Collage#2, 2020.

Photos: Peter Morgan

Collage 2.jpg
Darkroom 2.jpg

L: Darkroom, 2020 (photo Robin Hearfield);

Above: Darkroom 2, 2021 (photo Peter Morgan).

Patchwork mending.jpg

Patchwork mending 2021

Photo: Peter Morgan.

Ethel No.9001, 2020

Photo: Peter Morgan.

Ethel No.9001.jpg
Studio Session - ct-664.jpg

Dressed timber 2020-21


Photo: Peter Morgan

120 stamped not sewn 1.jpg

120:Stamped not sewn#1, 2020-21

Photo: Peter Morgan.

120 stamped not sewn 2.jpg

120:Stamped not sewn#2, 2021

Photo: Peter Morgan.

Trolley installation view.jpg

Trolley, 2019

Photos L: Robin Hearfield; R: Michael Sprott).

Wheelbarrow installation view.jpg

Wheelbarrow 2019-20

Photo: Peter Morgan.


Grid 2020

Photo: Peter Morgan

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