See what's on at the

Browse What's On

– Highlights

highlight
Exhibition

Grayson Perry

10 Dec - 01 May

highlight
Exhibition

Mikala Dwyer: MCA Collection

21 Dec - 21 Feb

highlight
Exhibition

Being TIWI

21 Dec - 21 Feb

Find out more about the

About the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

Sharing The Artist’s Voice

Celebrating the launch of a new video portal, Alex White reflects upon the MCA’s history of producing and sharing interviews with artists and the importance of these activities for the organisation. more

My Pretty Little Sydney: A guide inspired by Grayson Perry

Much like Grayson’s work, Sydney is full of interesting enclaves if you are willing to take a closer look. We teamed up with The Thousands to create a Grayson Perry-inspired guide to Sydney! more

Building Confidence

Artist Educator Sue Salier reflects upon the certainty of youth in relation to our secondary workshop program Unpacking Unseen Images. more

View the Collection

Browse Collection

– Spotlights from the collection online

highlight
Volume One: MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection on display

highlight
Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collections

On tour until October 2015

highlight
ARTIST INTERVIEW

Watch our latest artist interview with Khaled Sabsabi

Esme Timbery

Shellworked slippers 2008

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2008

shell, glitter, fabric, cardboard and glue

5 × 9.5 × 6cm

About the Artwork

Constructed from mixed media and adorned with shells, these tiny slippers exemplify traditional Indigenous craft practices of La Perouse, a headland on the shores of Botany Bay with a large Aboriginal population. They form a memorial to the Stolen Generations − Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their families and communities by government edict throughout the greater part of the twentieth century. Through their silence, emptiness and sense of expectancy, these shoes bear witness to the children’s absence.

Shellworked slippers (2008) is an important work by Esme Timbery that was commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre for exhibition Ngadhu, Ngulili, Ngeaninyagu – A Personal History of Aboriginal Art in the Premier State, 2008 (curated by Djon Mundine). The exhibition was important for being the first comprehensive survey of works by Aboriginal artists from New South Wales. It linked key practitioners across time and location; from Mickey of Ulladulla, to Badger Bates in far west New South Wales, to the Timbery family whose traditional lands run along the east coast from La Perouse to Jervis Bay.

Timbery’s work takes on a political manifestation and signifies a tradition and its continuation. It is a statement of ownership as the shells are from the coastal waters of the Timbery mob. The 200 slippers talk of the dispossession of Aboriginal people, not just of the land but of their way of life and, within real and living memory, of the stolen generations of children. The slippers are a reminder of social trauma, the trauma of dispossession and disempowerment but they are also an affirmation of a community that has survived, of its strength and of the warmth of the family and the community as a whole.

References

Christine Morrow (curator), MCA Collection: New Acquisitions 2008 (exhibition texts), Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008; Glenn Barkley (curator), Statement of significance, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008

Esme Timbery

– About the artist

b.1931

Esme Timbery lives and works in La Perouse, New South Wales. Her shellworked harbour bridges, shoes and other objects are created from wood, glue, cardboard, fabric, glitter and shells gathered from the beaches of the New South Wales south coast.

(http://www.daao.org.au/bio/esme-timbery/)

Learn more

– View also

All
Works

Related Exhibitions

In the Shop