Hung out to Dry is a recognition and representation of what it is to be a Blak woman, living within the system of colonial oppression.
"Although Blak women each have their unique, lived experiences, we are connected by the unavoidable reality of abuse, dehumanisation and the trauma of settler colonialism. Women, and in particular Blak women, are treated as facilitators for the colonial, male experience – as tools for their growth, their sexual exploits and general mistreatment. The misogynistic, societal expectations of women to take part in 'women’s work', not only comes in the form of physical labour, but also emotional; such as psychological support and trauma clearing. Blak women take on the responsibility of healing our own, our families, and our communities inherited trauma (both intergenerational and personal) with pride, yet are met with impossible obstacles within the colony.
In this exhibition, woven intimates are 'hung out' to represent the personal inner work of trauma clearing, for ourselves and our communities. The washing line represents women’s work, and the unfavourable conditions of the environment represents continued colonisation, and systemic oppression Blak women continue to face. Weaving is a cultural act of healing in of itself, utilised in this instillation to heal my own personal traumas, as well as decolonise ideas around traditional Women's business and 'women's work'."
— Madi Mercer
Madi Mercer (otherwise known as Ghostgum) is a proud Wadawurrung woman living and creating on Boonwurrung Country. She spent a large portion of her early and teen years moving from house to house, Country to Country with her parents and six siblings. Although these movements were prompted by financial hardship and other difficulties, it allowed her the privilege to experience the beauty of, Boonwurrung, Wurundjeri, Wiradjuri, Gadigal and Wadawurrung Countries. Madi and her family see these experiences as a guest on these Countries as a journey leading them back to their own Country, where they are currently living and have been settled now for the longest period of time in Madi’s life. It is also the first time in 5 generations that her family has been living back on Country, moving through intergenerational trauma and generational displacement, reconnecting with the land, community and themselves.
Although her family is living back on Country, Madi is based in Naarm, and has been here since beginning her graphic design degree at the University of Melbourne. Her artistic practice stems from her cultural identity, connection to herself and family, Country and Ancestors. Madi's works aim to highlight the importance of acknowledging and respecting the beauty, history and cultural significance of Blak Country. Her practice pays homage to the strength and resilience of Blak people and hopes to communicate the difficult reality of what it means to be a Blak person today – in particular a Blak woman in a systemically oppressive society, bringing to the forefront dismissed issues that continue to affect the Blak community.