Now in its 11th year HIDDEN Rookwood invites the public to experience and explore the historic and cultural significance of Rookwood Cemetery.
For this, exhibition artists were asked to explore notions of history, culture, family, remembrance and love. Additional themes in the sculptural works include immigration, cultural traditions, spirituality and our relationship to the environment.
Exploring themes such as the cycle of life - Lured to the light by Barak Zelig
The exhibition was curated by Dr Kath Fries who wants visitors to take away from the exhibition "a sense of having a unique experience in this amazing place, engage with a number of different layers of history and stories, and the diversity of cultures here."
Indeed the artworks reflect the cultural, social and religious diversity of Western Sydney with Jewish, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim traditions informing several of the artworks, while others draw on atheist, agnostic and broader spiritualities.
Exploring our relationship to the environment - All things move towards their ends by Claire Tennant
There are 35 sculptures in the main exhibition. Artworks range from the small, contemplative and intimate, to bright and celebratory works, through to large and monumental works, and some are even interactive.
The signposted trail takes you on a two kilometre walk through one of the oldest sections of the cemetery. As you walk amongst the decaying and weathered tombstones it's difficult not to reflect upon the cycle of life and the inevitability of death. While the setting may sound creepy to some, I found it to be quite the opposite as there is a real sense of life here, amongst the trees and gardens in the peaceful setting of the cemetery.
The history of the cemetery pervades this exhibition
The history of Rookwood Cemetery is layered within this exhibition, with many of the artists expressing a personal connection to the cemetery through their sculptures. Artworks are located in close proximity to the graves or within the historic pavilions. One work is even set within an old grave digger's hut. The cemetery dates back to 1867 and is actually one of the last operating Victorian Cemeteries in the world.
Hand crafted porcelain flannel flowers are a memorial to all who rest in this place - In Memoriam by Helen Earl
Exhibiting artists for HIDDEN Rookwood 2019 include:
Julie Monro-Allison, Louise Morgan, Priscilla Bourne, Nuha Saad, Audrey Newton, Hilde Angel Danielsen, Polly Williams, Barak Zelig, Devine Panic (Emma Devine and Samantha Kirby), Lisa Andrew and Rachel Buckeridge, Helen Earl, Claire Tennant, Karmyn Gibson, Sharon Ridsdale, Lachlan Warner, Cameron Stanton and Rachael Lafferty, Liz O'Reilly, Leon Lester, Marina Robins, Renuka Fernando, Paul Greedy, Anney Bounpraseuth, Cybele Cox, Tammy Wong Hulbert, Nerine Martini, Lisa Tolcher, Mimi Dennett, Wesley Harrop, Nadia Odlum, Linda Brescia, Jane Gillings and Irene Traucki, Mandy Burgess and Ro Murray, Gillian Kayrooz, Ludwig Mlcek, Sylvia Griffin
This year the exhibition was opened up to students to encourage participation from a younger audience. The inaugural HIDDEN Rookwood Students exhibition includes 12 artworks and involves 160 students, teachers and facilitators.
Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand, by Barker College
There are also a number of short film artworks in the HIDDEN Rookwood Films category which showcases videography work from artists across the country. The short films are shown in the American War Pavilion located on Hawthorne Ave.
HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures is a free event which runs from 7th September - 7th October 2019.
You will find the first artwork located next to the American War Pavilion, opposite the Rookwood General Cemetery Office on Hawthorne Avenue.
You can download a map from the website or pick up a catalogue (with a gold coin donation) and map at the General Cemetery Office.