Explorers – Narratives of Site in Contemporary Art Practice

October - November 2017
Woodford Academy, Woodford NSW
Illustrated: Women, Work and War 1940-1946

What do you think of the war? Things seem to be getting worse don’t they? All our family are at present knitting socks for the soldiers. You should see them all sitting round knitting different coloured socks… To-night the family are all writing letters and making a noise generally…” To- Gerti McManamey, Woodford Academy from Shirza, 1942

Illustrated: Women, Work and War 1940-1946 is part of an ongoing research based art project by artist Vivienne Dadour to examine, document and exhibit collections of letters, newspaper, magazine, book articles and illustrations that reveal narratives about WW2 in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

Archival and contextual material assembled for the Illustrated: Women, Work and War 1940-1946 Installation, have been sourced from collections in the Blue Mountains and are thought to originally belong to the Woodford Academy family archives. Specifically, two sisters Jessie and Gerti McManamey, prolific letter writers and collectors who occupied the Woodford Academy during WW 2. By featuring these archives in an exhibition in the location in which they were created, circulated and archived, reveals past histories that link time past to this present place.

Printed material relating to different roles undertaken by women in WW2 are from the Illustrated magazine, and images from As You Were, published by the Australian War Memorial during WW2 have been selected, cut up, collaged and rearranged onto pages, onto which hand written letters from WW2 between Gerti McManamey and friends are written. Word and image work together to highlight the subject matter while reflecting on local history and the ‘broader world picture.’

Illustrated: Women, Work and War 1940-1946 references significant roles by women including the personal, historical and political landscape of WW2 and serves to share valuable insights into the texture of daily life and thought at the Woodford Academy.

  • Illustrated installation 
  • Searching the Skys 
  • Cabinet Installation / Sound Locater 
Explorers - Narratives of Site in Contemporary Art Practice Catalogue