2018 Circle of Stones

Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA 29 September – 4 November, 2018. Group exhibition with Merle Narkle-Goodwin, Holly Story, Janelle Mendham, Nikala Bourke, Sujora Conrad and Lana de Jager.

Circle of Stones is a connection to place and time as it relates to the earth’s rotation around the sun and the feminine history, which celebrates mother earth and her diversity. Filomena Coppola was Artist in Residence at Gallery 152, York WA in 2017. During this time she connected with residents who shared their experience of the area and introduced her to its natural beauty and history. Coppola was particularly interested in the Avon River and exploring the changes that have occurred with settlement and farming.

There are two works which are specific to this water system where she painted two species of fish which are no longer found in this section of the river – the yellow eye mullet and the gilgie. Coppola spent time walking and visiting the environment around York to create works specific to place. She collected stones on which to paint and photographed the areas where the rocks were selected.

Coppola met with Ballardong Noongar elder, Merle Narkle-Goodwin, who enabled her to ensure that none of the rocks selected came from sacred sites or locations with historic cultural significance. Coppola’s connection to place was informed and deepened by the friendships, locations and experiences created during her residency.  Circle of Stones celebrates these connections.

The wall piece, Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne is an environmental work that acknowledges distance, familial ties and cultural dislocation. The sardine is the fish out of water, culturally displaced and relocated in the Australian environment. The letters j, k, w, x and y represent the slippage in communication both culturally and literally as these letters are not part of the Italian alphabet. It is a subtle work that responds to the viewers movement as the leaves rustle within the air created by motion. Its apparent fragility is an acknowledgment of the sensitivity of language, culture and interpretation.