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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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Fiona Foley’s project

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Fiona Foley’s was a full-on response to the sense of India as experienced in the market place in which color was naturally dominant. Mounds of dried red – chilies and turmeric attracted her as natural materials associated with the world of women in the home. These became layers of symbols in two works with strong geometric designs of circles and half circles, on flat hard grounds prepared with robin blue ultramarine pigment, that were reminiscent of her sand sculptures. Decking her with marigold garlands and henna in enjoyment of the local culture she also made a work stringing peepal leaves cut in red and yellow paper dipped in wax. This made a concave arched line on the wall over a similar arched line made with strung marigolds. Having previously used markers from as original culture and history to empower aboriginal identity, here, without particular historicity, these markers could not escape the exotic that usually foregrounds contact with other cultures.

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