An article by Caitlin Wilson for REMADE 2014
When I first step into Amelia Rowe’s studio, a re-converted chapel, I’m struck by the sense that Amelia is a prolific artist with a strongly explored theme of mourning through symbolism.
Her recent work in Dark Mofo’s “Memoriam” explores the nature of the human psyche’s attitude to death through the use of animals and the ritual and decorum of death. This all hints at her latest creation for REMADE 2014, a collaboration with Launceston’s newly elected freshest face for Bass and all round local arts supporter Andrea Dawkins.
Amelia’s creation sits firmly in the midst of these projects, being carefully upholstered with recyclables, everything from chicken wire from a friend’s property to the fastenings found in the clothes Andrea provided. The piece will focus her talents for story-telling using the weapon of cultural approaches to grief to present an artwork encompassing the complexity of Edwardian style mourning, coquettish non-conformity, and the idea of wearing your experiences with style.
Andrea provided a silver lame dress, an old leather jacket and plaid shorts which were previously worn to a wedding, a anecdote that Amelia likens to the idea of breaking with ceremonial dress conventions.
When asked of the inspiration for these clothes, Ms. Dawkins spoke of model Lizzie Alkot, whose Sudanese heritage and setting out for a new life in Tasmania further present a vivid back story of renewal. Ms. Rowe will embrace this theme of transformation, throwing in a dose of elegant black, fake animals and freedom for good measure.
When asked of Andrea’s own personal style in turn, she expresses a need for practicality and a love of the retro 80’s. She believes that fashion recycles itself, applying the wisdom of what comes around goes around, and reflects on a societal need to embrace this refashioning. “Art has a social message” she says, and if REMADE hones this more than anything, it’s the theme that fashion can be anti-capitalist, provocative, and can inspire personal, if not social change.
It is in this provocative spirit that Amelia works on the garment, she notes that although she did not know of Andrea’s selection of clothes in regards to Lizzie, the dress naturally took on a story of rebirth after loss. She adorns the “mourning dress” with rebellious red highlights and talks of a time when widows were a strange brew of dignity, grief and yet re-found identity with an unspoken underside of sexual knowledge. She will be henceforth encouraging Lizzie to express her individuality during the catwalk show at Inveresk, an important message to the piece being it’s subtle subversion of traditional dress.
Amelia Rowe’s art is being showcased amongst six other Remade collaborations on the 15th November, 3pm at the QVMAG Inveresk. So if you are intrigued by psycho-pomps, ceremony and sustainability, tickets are available now via the Remade website and participating outlets.