Collage: Exploring Meaning

So Many Stories

MEROOGAL: This collage is a variation on my Meroogal short story #21. It is part of my response to the 2020 call for entries in the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize. Use this link to find out about the competition. https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/meroogal-womens-art-prize-2020

Stories are infinite in their variety. We want to participate in them.

Artists have long understood the power of collage as a tool for manipulating the singular narratives that so often exclude them.’[i]

We now live in a time of formalised isolation. But so many lives have been lived in imposed isolation. Historically many women were isolated and excluded by class and behavioural expectation.

Such women wrote diaries, took photographs, used scissors, paper and glue to collect scraps, photographs and cuttings into scrapbooks and collages. This work was rarely viewed by its creator or her contemporaries as an art piece. They were just women occupying themselves in artistic pastimes. But in doing so they used their creativity to review and comment on the world around them. I’d call that art.

She lived a good deal by herself, to herself, working, passing on from day to day, and always thinking, trying to lay hold on life, to grasp it in her own understanding. Her active living was suspended, but underneath, in the darkness, something was coming to pass. If only she could break through the last integuments!’[ii]

In my isolation I use the technological equivalent of scissors, paper and glue to make my collages and scrapbooks. Historically women didn’t ask for permission to keep their scraps, they didn’t claim ownership of the original images, or sell their scrapbooks. Nor do I. Did they see scrapbooks as art? Maybe not, but mine are art to me.


[i] https://nas.edu.au/queer-contemporary-2020/

[ii] Lawrence, D. H. Women in love 1923. New York. Thomas Seltzer. P. 10.