Hundreds of hours walked, kilograms of road glass gathered and one of Australia’s largest hand-knitted jumpers – Emma Buswell is exploring the class conflicts amongst the leafy lawns and estates of suburban Applecross as part of her latest exhibition, Suburban Turrets. Commissioned and presented by the City of Melville and Goolugatup Heathcote, the annual site-responsive TILT exhibition invites one WA-based artist to respond to the unique natural, built and social history of the area.
Home to some of the most extravagant homes in the country, Buswell spent her youth exploring the streets of Applecross, but not as that of a resident: “My dad told me the other day they used to call him ‘the Mayor of Duncraig Road’. He doesn’t have any vestments. Just a crumpled outdoorsy sun hat, khaki greens, and in recent years, a set of lurid electric blue arm covers that protect his thinning skin from the sun. When I say ‘they’, I refer to the clients whose lawns, gardens, and pathways he has carefully maintained for some 25 years. My dad is a gardener,” says Buswell.
Through her signature knitted jumper artworks, including a six-metre wide (wrist to wrist) hand-knitted hero piece, and a new series of stained glass works from locally collected broken glass, Buswell reflects on her childhood in the suburbs, the history of real estate in the Goolugatup Heathcote area, the legacy of ‘land improvement’, and the effects of such systemic inequality.
Suburban Turrets will officially open at Goolugatup Heathcote on Friday 11 November and will be on display until Sunday 15 January 2023.