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Sarah Nathan-Truesdale


Sarah Nathan-Truesdale

Artist biography

Sarah Nathan-Truesdale is interested in photography as a tool of communication. She is aware that images and visual communication are useful ways of engaging with contemporary culture.

Sarah has recently completed her second year of Visual Arts at the Australian National University (ANU), majoring in Photo Media. She has taken part in group exhibitions at the ANU and local venues in Canberra.

Photo: Janis Lejins, 2012.

Artist work: Snowglobes

Medium: Inkjet prints, snowglobes
Dimensions: 10 cm x 10cm
Date: November 2012

Artist work: Vincent Series

Medium: Fibre based prints
Dimensions: 12 cm x 10 cm
Date: November 2012

Artist statement: Snowglobes and Vincent Series

The past and present uses of Rottnest Island in Western Australia produce a fascinating contradiction full of potential stories. A fictional archive can capitalise on a gap in historical information by acknowledging and elaborating on recorded history.  Re-contexualising archival records provides a new way of looking and perhaps understanding events of the past.

Artist inspiration: Snowglobes and Vincent Series

My work is based on subject matter found in the Urban Life shoebox as part of the Landmarks gallery at the National Museum. Urban Life describes the history of Rottnest Island from colonisation up to present day, including stories from the experience of the Wadjemup prison.

I focused on the history of the island as a prison for Indigenous men from Western Australia. The Island is now a popular holiday destination for Western Australians, who have the option of sleeping in the converted prison cells.

My constructed snowglobes series draws on the photographic archive of the time in combination with quotes pulled from newspaper articles written about Rottnest Island during the time the prison was in operation. The images in the snowglobes are a combination of my own images and archival images.

In my research I came across a man named Henry Vincent, the superintendent of the indigenous prison for 30 years. There is very little information about him in public archives and I found no images. Vincent was blind in one eye and had seven children. I found tantalising snippets of facts about his family; a drowned daughter, a fraudulent son, and his wife Louisa divorced him after 30 years. He is written about as a severe, uneducated man. The series of fictional portraits is inspired by the sparseness of his recorded history.