a place for our bones
a collection of stories…
a place for our bones is a collection of stories.
Artist Nicole Chaffey draws from the collective work of the past four years; an introspective investigation of family ties, relinquished histories and reclaimed identity.
Artefacts found in the earth of Tallawoledah (The Rocks, Sydney) have been elegised in paint. These Grandmother’s Bones are symbols of the life of the artist’s great great grandmother, daughter of an Aboriginal domestic servant and Irish wharf-worker, born in the former Plymouth Inn in 1878.
The significance of their history and connection to that place is a metaphor for the girl of two worlds; of biculturalism and otherness. This is a prequel to a broader story in which the space that exists between Aboriginality and western painting; and place and the Sublime, are carefully considered. Chaffey has spent much of her artistic career negotiating this space.
WHERE OUR BONES MIGHT REST
Nicole Chaffey is a Newcastle based artist with an established studio practice spanning over ten years. Drawing on a deep connection to Country through her Biripai/Gadigal heritage, she seeks to describe her relationship to the Australian landscape by occupying a space between representation and abstraction, where the visible, known world can diffuse into one of spirituality and old knowledge.
The importance of recognising where one belongs is important to Chaffey’s practice of art making. Almost always based within the stories of her family, particularly her Aboriginal grandfather, she seeks out a place where the old history can be acknowledged, and the inheritance of an essential and dependent relationship with the land can be honoured.
Chaffey has exhibited throughout Australia, and has been included in major exhibitions at Glasshouse Port Macquarie and Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. Her work is represented in public and private collections worldwide.
She completed a Masters of Philosophy (Aboriginal Studies) in 2015 for which she received a Research Higher Excellence Award from the University of Newcastle. She was awarded the major prize at the Wollotuka Acquisitive Art Prize in 2011 and was a finalist in the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize in 2013 and the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship in 2008.