SALA Featured Artist - Fiona HALL
Occupied territory, 1995
From her Adelaide base, Fiona Hall has a truly international career. Occupied territory is the first three-dimensional beaded work made by Hall, commissioned for the opening of the Museum of Sydney, which is built on the site of the first Government House in Australia.
Four indigenous plants are crafted from nails and black glass beads while the four introduced species are constructed from white and blood-red glass beads. The choice of species has been guided by the endemic plants found in the Sydney area, such as banksia and acacia, and by those introduced to the fledgling colony such as fig and pear. Hall’s choice of nails and beads refer to the trading items of the early nineteenth century, the types of trinkets used to mollify Indigenous people.
The peach, which carries a human tooth as its seed, also carries the words 'Thus we hope to prosper'. This phrase was printed on the first Sydney Gazette, published by Governor King in 1803, and like the nearby painting after Thomas Watling, it expresses the optimism of the new colony. For Hall this optimism is offset by the displacement of Aboriginal culture.
Other works of art