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Alice Desmond

Alice Desmond


Artist biography

Alice Desmond

Alice Desmond studies Digital Media at the Australian National University's School of Art.

With an ongoing passion for art and cinema, Alice's work explores the broad possibilities of moving image.

Working mostly with photographic imagery, she uses digital technologies to create an abstracted sense of reality that distorts space and time.

Artist statement

This work is inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging, a gift given to an Australian Aid worker who assisted in resettling thousands of refugees who were displaced during the Second World War.

I was struck by the idea of a person being 'displaced' – finding themselves in a strange or unintended location, separated from the people, places and life that they once knew. Even when relocated to a new home, starting a life in an unfamiliar environment can be an overwhelming experience and the feeling of being displaced does not easily subside. My work aims to convey the puzzling task of making sense of a new location, and the struggle to feel that one has found their place within a new environment.

In reference to the aesthetic of Olga Basylevich's appliqued wall-hanging, my work brings together a multitude of fragments, pieced together to create a larger image.

Artist work

Title: Fragmented Landscape
Medium: Interactive
Date: October 2010

A screenshot from Alice Desmond's Fragmented Landscape.

Artist inspiration

The Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging was created by Olga Basylevich, a refugee that was held in a displaced persons camp in Germany. Created on a United Nations blanket, Basylevich brought together a broad range of fabric, felt, paper and fur scraps and used a variety of needlepoint techniques to create the wall-hanging.

The wall-hanging was given as a gift to Valerie Paling, an Australian teacher who worked for the United Nations in displaced persons camps in Europe following World War II. Paling helped refugees to obtain practical skills while they were in the camps, and assisted in the resettlement of people who had become displaced during the war.

My work explores the idea of displacement and the idea of environmental alienation that comes with being 'resettled'. The combination of different fragments refers to the way the wall-hanging was created.

Wall hanging depicting Little Red Riding Hood walking through a forest. A wolf appears from behind a tree, with his red tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. A variety of fabrics including felt and fur have been sewn onto a grey blanket to form the scene, which also shows an owl, a bird, a squirrel and a rabbit. Some of the elements are padded using a technique called stumping, and they have a three-dimensional appearance.
The National Museum's Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging. Photo: George Serras.

Read more about the Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging

Curator Karen Schamberger detailed her research on the Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging in a presentation at the National Museum on 30 May 2008.

audio_w15 Listen to 'Re-presenting Little Red Riding Hood'

An animation of the Grimm Brothers' 1812 version of the Little Red Riding Hood story, based on the wall-hanging, appears in the Australian Journeys gallery.

Video icon View the Little Red Riding Hood animation (MPEG4 18.3mb) duration 05:24