Arts / Striking ceramics exhibition focuses on insects

Mahala Hill with her show

AN apocalyptic vision of the insect as “the living dead” forms the narrative behind a striking new exhibition now on show in the ACT Legislative Assembly as part of the Emerging Artist Support Scheme.

In “Living after the End”, ceramicist Mahala Hill, recipient of the 2017 ACT Legislative Assembly Speaker’s Prize has played with scale by constructing insects gigantic in comparison to their environment, to emphasise dominance and adaption.

“I was drawn to the less-studied Australian arthropods, [which are] not considered useful, nor directly beneficial to humans,” Hill says.

“The urgency of their imminent demise is emphasised through depicting them as ghostly or post-death shells.”

To Hill, the insect embodies the living dead, a “ghostly” shell of itself.

“These visions flip the common idea that insects are inconsequential to human life, depicting them as the ‘soul’ survivors of apocalyptic environmental destruction,” she says.

But rather than representing a pessimistic outlook, she believes, her ceramic sculptures express “some hope through survival”.

Hill graduated as a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) from the ANU School of Art and Design’s Ceramics Workshop late last year and now works from her own studio just outside of Canberra.

“Living after the End”, Exhibition Room, Level 1, Legislative Assembly, 196 London Circuit, Canberra, Monday to Friday, 9am—5pm, throughout June.


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