The Neva set sail from Cork, Ireland, in January 1835. On board were 150 Irish women convicts, 9 free women, a total of 55 children. The Neva was wrecked off Cape Wickham, King Island, on 13 May 1835. None of the mothers or children survived. Twelve women made it to shore alive, but only six survived past the first night.
Neva Vestiges is Catherine Stringer’s personal response to this tragedy. The work was initiated during a residency at the King Island Cultural Centre in 2011, when she first started experimenting with making paper from the local kelp and subsequently other seaweeds. She became increasingly drawn to the Neva story, feeling a connection with these women, particularly as many of them were mothers, like her, and moreover 28 of them shared her name, Catherine.
Papermaking techniques have been developed and refined during the past five years to create these garments using seaweeds gathered from the Cape Wickham area. The work in this exhibition is a selection from the larger series Neva Reliquary which was exhibited at the Moonah Arts Centre in April 2016. This series included a small size garment to represent each of the 28 Catherines, 16 of which are on display here.
The exhibition dates have been extended until the end of August.