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Project: Wandering the Hall of Memories - Blackall Tambo Regional Council

Home > Funding > Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) > RADF case studies > Project: Wandering the Hall of Memories - Blackall Tambo Regional Council

This evocative installation, created in the Memorial Hall in Blackall, consisted of 1000 white porcelain bowls laid out in a grid of 8 squares on the main floor of the hall.

Each bowl contained a memory the artist had of events in or around the Memorial Hall during her childhood.

The viewing public was encouraged to pick up the bowls and read the memories contained. Viewers were invited to contribute a memory of their own, attached to a pair of shoes they had worn in the hall. Eleven pairs were donated and incorporated into the installation.

The boundaries of the space were defined by translucent white curtains, moving in the breeze, which added to the dream like atmosphere of the installation.

On the stage of the hall 30 pairs of pink ballet pointe shoes hung on ribbons so that they also moved in the breeze like a ghost recital.

The artist was present each day of the exhibition and gave two artist talks as part of the project.

Outcomes: Audiences of over 100 daily - on par with urban contemporary art galleries.

There were 7 media articles, the My Space page had hits from as far afield as England and 20 books were sold.

As a result of time spent talking to and reminiscing with the locals, the artist received photographs from events in the Hall over the years. Music recorded in the Hall in the 1950s was provided as soundtrack for the opening night.

Future plans for the project/program

As a result of talking with locals about her memories and encouraging them to relive their own, the artist gained a sense that residents of Blackall viewed their Memorial Hall with fresh and appreciative eyes. This may assist in the building continuing to be a centre for the community.

The project served as professional development for the artist due to the opportunity to work on such a large scale and was an opportunity to take contemporary art to a wider audience

It gave rural students exposure to contemporary art forms which may not otherwise be available to them and they also were able to talk with the artist

Quote from artist Natalie Billing: "I tend to think of memory as being like water, something fluid to be held, or contained, so the bowls and the ballet shoes became receptacles of memory. I hoped that, suspended over the stage, they (the ballet pointe shoes) would create an ethereal, dream-like ballet. And isn't that just what remembering is?"

RADF Category 2: Building Community Cultural Capacity
Year: 2007-08
Applicant: Natalie Billing
Amount funded: $3200 Other funding: nil
Total cost of project: $14 854