Raquel Ormella works at the intersection of art and activism, investigating political consciousness and social action through her practice. She interrogates the ethical roles and responsibilities of the artist, producing work that is reflexive and critically self-aware. Employing a diverse range of media - including video, painting, installation, drawing and zine production - Ormella extends her studio practice to explore modes of collective and collaborative art production. She leads the viewer to become implicated in and challenged by her work; a notion which is ultimately aligned with the broader social concerns that underscore her practice.
'This dream' evolved out of an ongoing enquiry into identity and nationhood, and the way that meanings associated with flags may be changeable. The work is comprised of the flags of Australia, Nauru and Papua New Guinea, which have been altered and re-presented by the artist aligned with her ideological investigation. The flag - a symbol of a country, and moreover of its system of beliefs and values - is assumed by the artist in this work as a powerful visual signifier of nationalism; however, her treatment of each flag opens it up to new possibilities of meaning. Each flag has been manipulated by the artist to create words and patterns in the fabric. The charred edges of the fabric - evincing Ormella's method of burning its fibres - reference flag desecration as an act of political activism and protest against a country or its policies.
'This dream ... on the other side ... of the world' is the simple text that can be read across the flags, alluding to the plight of asylum seekers and refugees who have left their country of origin due to a fear of persecution. It speaks to the domestic politics of Australia, but also to the effects of war and globalisation, as well as the possibility that Australia holds for those seeking refuge. This text, together with the artist's selection of these particular flags, is suggestive of the so called 'Pacific Solution' and the Australian government's ongoing diplomatic negotiations with the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea in relation to asylum seekers.
150.0 x 210.0 cm overall
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2013
Not on display
© Raquel Ormella
Shown in 3 exhibitions
New constellation, Milani Gallery, West End, 12 Sep 2013–28 Oct 2013
See you at the barricades, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 May 2015–29 Nov 2015
Raquel Ormella survey exhibition:
- Shepparton Art Museum, Australia 26 May 2018–12 Aug 2018
- Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Horsham 13 Oct 2018–09 Dec 2018
- Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Launceston 01 Feb 2019–31 Mar 2019
- Noosa Regional Gallery, Queensland 21 Aug 2019–30 Nov 2019
Referenced in 4 publications
Geraldine Barlow (Editor), Direct democracy, Caulfield East. general reference
Dave Barton, LA Weekly, 'Little big show', pg. 45, Los Angeles, 12 Jul 2013-18 Jul 2013, n.pag.. general reference; viewed 09.01.2014, http://www.laweekly.com/2013-07-11/art-books/california-pacific-triennial-orange-county/
Christopher Knight., latimes.com, 'Review: A modern Silk Road passes through OCMA's Pacific Rim show', Los Angeles, 05 Jul 2013, n.pag.. general reference; viewed 09.01.2014, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-knight-triennial-review-20130705,0,7327198.story#axzz2kfMEyTxk
Macushla Robinson, See you at the barricades, Sydney, 2015, 28-9 (colour illus.), 47.