Displacement

Displacement

Stories, like forms, contain a range of fragments from our memory, identity, imagination, and interaction, however, what if stories or forms could not contain all the information? What would happen if forms and narratives were filled to the brim and overflowed, spilling their contents? Relating these thoughts to the subject of refugees arriving in Australia I made a series of teacups that sat uncomfortably inside one another. On the surface of each cup, a story of migration is told through reference to postage stamps. Each postage stamp depicts a different sea vessel. Postage stamps are evidence of payment usually placed on an envelope or parcel, to carry an item from one destination to another. The postage stamp depicting ships was used to reference this exchange. Historically, postage stamps have carried visual information that commemorate and promote governments and royal families, similar to porcelain forms, which have been used to carry images of promotion and propaganda.

The stamp on the first cup has a rendition of an historical maritime sailing ship, referencing the arrival of British settlers and the establishment of colonies in Australia. The paired cup, which stacks or sits above, depicts a village of huts. While on the base, convict wrist chains reference the convicts who were brought to Australia in 1788 by the British upon their conquest of the land they called Terra Nullius, which subsequently became known as Australia in the mid-1800s. The second pair of cups alludes to migration to Australia following the Second World War. The stamp with a freight ship sits below a cup with the line drawing of a house and small dark figures (fleeing from where and who is unclear). The third pair carries the cup of a mother and her children running from an army figure, depicting the situation or origin preceding migration. The base cup holds a stamp depicting an Indonesian fishing ship referencing the frequent images of refugee boats that sail perilously from Indonesia to Australia, carrying refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Bachelard, 2014). Therefore, the displacement of imaginary contents and people involved occurs when one cup is piled upon the other.

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