26 May - 9 June and 24 September - 8 October
Dr Jessica Neath is an emerging art historian who is researching at the intersections of visual art, landscape and the memorialisation of marginalised histories. She is currently working with the artist Brook Andrew on the Australian Research Council project, ‘Representation, Remembrance and the Memorial’. Using an international comparative approach, this visual arts research project concerns the Australian frontier wars and how to represent the magnitude of Indigenous loss and survival in a national memorial. Since 2010 she has been employed as a research assistant in the Art History and Theory program at Monash University where she completed her PhD thesis in 2015 about the contemporary photographic art of Ricky Maynard and Anne Ferran. In 2013 she received the John Barrett Award for Australian Studies (Postgraduate Category) for the paper “Empty Lands: Contemporary Art Approaches to Photographing Historical Trauma in Tasmania”, which was published in the Journal of Australian Studies.
Jessica is the current Spiros Zournazis Memorial Fellow at the Australian War Memorial. During her residency, she will be researching the art collection at the War Memorial, focusing on artworks which depict memorial forms and practices connected to war remembrance in Australia. Items of interest in the War Memorial’s art collection include paintings, drawings and photographs of war memorials in Australian towns and cities, images of Remembrance day celebrations, artworks that incorporate wreaths, and recent acquisitions where Australian contemporary artists have addressed the framing of war and how it is remembered. Researching the historical context and comparing artworks will be a method to identify different forms of visualizing remembrance while considering the particular cultural meanings. For example, how have wreaths been used at different times, what is the significance of representing monolithic war memorials in the landscape or of documenting the social and political activities that happen on the grounds of war memorials? Apart from honouring the soldiers who served in wars fought overseas, what other issues circulate these representations of war remembrance?
This project will complement research Jessica has done to date about the lack of memorialisation in the public sphere of the frontier wars in Australia, and investigation of contemporary memorial forms that address traumatic and genocidal histories.