Karla Dickens

Wednesday 16 August
1–2pm Black Theatre

Karla Dickens discusses her work in Grounded, twenty new Warrior Women (all 2017), sculptural forms depicting female underwear as chastity belts bearing the rough detritus of Australia’s rural economy, from barbed-wire, harness, tools, machinery parts to sporting relics, fish hooks and Aboriginal kitsch. Dickens also presents a new straight-jacket inscribed with her hard-hitting text. This new work in Grounded extends her powerful installation at Carriageworks for The National.

The driving force behind Karla Dickens’ work is the need to communicate her Indigenous (Wiradjuri) heritage, her sexuality and life experiences as a single mother. Her work questions identity, colonisation, cultural dispossession and social diaspora and their opposites: cultural affirmation, continuity and reclamation of history. Her work is an ongoing testimony to the continuing role of Aboriginal women as keepers of stories, custodians of the past, and carriers of a living dynamic contemporary Australian Aboriginal culture. Dickens uses recycled everyday items to explore notions of persistence amid inherent violence and misunderstanding. Often accompanied by raw and personal poetic texts, her meticulously fabricated works emanate a rare honesty.

Dickens holds a Diploma of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art, both from the National Art School.


Image: Karla Dickens, WW (Warrior Woman 9), WW (Warrior Woman 12), WW (Warrior Woman 13), 2017