She Taught Him How To Stay Inside The Lines, 2005

This series of twelve 23 x 23 inch, mixed-media drawings on watercolour paper was produced in 2005 for a solo exhibition at the Martin Batchelor Gallery in Victoria in 2006. The drawings feature a found image of a young mother teaching her child how to draw and paint. I was attracted to this illustration because of both the specific and broad social/political implications of being taught as a youngster to stay inside the lines.

In particular, I was interested in the autobiographic meaning of the mother teaching her son about his own creativity; I did not have this experience, my mother having run away when I was about a year old. Instead I discovered my interest in art despite the dubious guidance of several convent-trained aunts and discouragement from my house-painter father. With deliberate scribbling and "mistakes”, I worked over the image and its accompanying text to resist and even attack the personal message of the drawing.

This image is also a metaphor of society's control over the individual. Staying inside the line means indoctrination, obedience, surveillance, security, punishment and alienation.

Four of these drawings are still in my personal collection.