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Janelle Evans

Medicine Bottles 2009

from the Series 'Upon the Place of the Blood – Peel Island'


Artist Statement

"Currently my focus is on the liminal space between Western and traditional ways of seeing and being. A 2009 Queensland College of Art residency on Moreton Bay’s former lazaret, Peel Island, has resulted in this installation from the series Upon the Place of the Blood – Peel Island, 2009. The experience of being on the island, which houses the ruins of the former lazaret, created a kind of “double vision” or uncanniness for me, as the archaeology of the site carries the weight of its history as an isolated colony for the outcast and the leper. During the colonial period that the leper colony was operational, many Indigenous people became the subject of scientific and medical enquiry. The historical record of such enquiry can still be seen in the lazaret’s archives and includes items for measuring and recording, medicine bottles for drug trials and other paraphernalia. In response to this material, I created a re-membering or re-translation of the scientific objectification of the Indigenous patients, exploring spatial contexts of place, time, memory and connection to others in order to disrupt the colonial discourse."


Born Innisfail, Australia
Janelle Evans (Bundjalung/Wiradjuri) studied a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art minoring in Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art graduating in 2009. Her early art practice was influenced by tutoring received by the late Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) and by her father who was himself tutored by Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend.
Janelle’s art practice has incorporated printmaking, painting and video performance pieces, as well as writing and directing for theatre, film, television and radio in Australia and Europe. She has completed several master classes at the Australian Film Television Radio School and was selected in 2006 to be a recipient of the Macquarie Bank’s Indigenous Professional Development Programme at the school. Her short films have screened in cinemas and festivals in Australia. Recently she has received tutoring in photographic practice from Australian photo media artist Dacchi Dang.
In 2008 Janelle attended a residency at the Tokyo Geidai University of Fine Art and exhibited in Tokyo at the Ueno Town Art Museum. The art works produced and exhibited during the residency explore the exotic ‘other’ and the unfamiliarity that occurs when one is uprooted from one’s own culture and transported to another that is alien. Themes of displacement that come from cultural hybridity inform most of her art practice. “No matter how hard one tries to assimilate into the dominant culture, a sense of not belonging always remains”, she says.