New exhibition tells family stories

A thought-provoking new art exhibition is opening up conversations within families and bringing new life to old textiles.

Domestic Arts the new exhibition at the Walkway Gallery, was officially launched at an opening on Friday, July 9.

The works are deeply personal and while they reflect artist Sera Waters' own family stories, they also express the shared experiences of many South Australian families.

Ms Waters was hopeful the work would prompt visitors to go home and open up a conversation with their own families.

"It's about domestic tales, family histories and how they haven't always had a spot in Australia's official history, so I am trying to bring those back into the narrative," she said.

"I think there are so many fascinating tales that come out of people's family histories and also the material stuff in there as well - It's the materials that are at hand, we are so familiar with them, and we know them, and they are powerful materials.

"These are all family stories in one way or another - my mum was a great family historian, but they speak to other people's families.

"It's all kind of knotty and tangled - we're all entangled with each other in some way or another."

The exhibition gives new life to the textiles and materials she has used in each piece and she has embraced the history and flaws of each piece of material.

"I do find a lot of my materials in op shops but I hope I give it a new life and a new story," she said.

"I like that, the towels in particular, have pulled threads - some of these come from my family but others are from other family homes, so they have pulled threads, they have all kinds of things in them that tell their history - they are not just manufactured pieces that are clean, they tell their stories.

"Textiles is the second biggest pollutant in the world, so just the amount of clothes people throwing out and the fashion that gets made and not sold, it's about keeping them in circulation longer so less has to get made."

While all the pieces tell a story, one particular piece really spoke to Ms Waters - a mustard yellow bed spread, overlayed with a grey quilted silhouette of a woman, which paints a powerful picture.

"The beds spread in particular - I made all the patchworks out of my Nana's sheets that I have dyed and cut up to create that," she said.

"I was doing a lot of working out about her life and the way she had a lot of secrets - She contained a lot in her, which is of her generation.

"I was wondering the cost of that on her of holding it in and when it kind of seeps out.

"So I was imagining my silhouette on there, but I was thinking about her and her legacies and her holding in things she didn't want to pass onto the next generations.

"So that for me was a really important work, it was kind of a breakthrough in my thinking."

The exhibition will be open until August 29 at the Walkway Gallery..

Also unveiled on the night was the Telling Tales project, a joint venture between Ms Waters, artist Jo Fife, the Riddoch Art and Cultural Centre, Country Arts SA and Walkway Gallery.

The work is made up of 80 hand-stitched squares, made by people of the Limestone Coast, depicting stories of the region that they remember fondly.

It will be avaliable to view at the Tatiara Civic Centre until September 5.