Over the past few months I’ve been working on a small series of photographs about a woman called Maria Needham. In 1831 Maria was convicted for stealing washing off a line in London and subsequently transported to Van Diemans Land (now Tasmania). The minimum sentence for such petty crimes was 7 years in the new southern colony. After surviving 130 days in appalling conditions at sea, during which 2 women and 12 children died, Maria was placed in a House of Correction for Females – more commonly known as The Female Factory in South Hobart. Like many female convicts Maria worked as a house servant to the wealthier people of the community and married a fellow convict.
I have investigated my convict ancestors and family tree, but despite having the same surname as Maria I don’t think we are related. Having said that, records relating to convicts are often incomplete or missing vital information, so perhaps it is still possible.
*”Eight artists from Australia, Scotland and Ireland have been asked to interpret in their own way, through varied media, the experience of a single female convict, to feel their trauma and their joys, illustrate their story, follow their path of banishment and ask how relevant it is today.
As a starting point, each artist was asked to select a convict who shared their name, research their experience and create an artwork that reflected their response. One artist has uncovered a relative, while others made their selection regardless of their namesake.”
So here’s a sneak peek one of my images:
"Out After Hours" from the series "Terra Australis Ignota"
15 MARCH – 28 APRIL 2013
Open from Friday 15 March, 10am
Official Opening Tuesday 19 March, 5.30 pm in conjunction with the 10 Days on the Island Festival Opening