Artist Statement Kaye Johnston


Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2011

My entry ‘Pioneering Women’ is a Photograph of dolls using hand tools. They are in the Australian Bush and they are sitting in front of an image of Meroogal House. The concept is that women have to be able to use tools and refers to the theme for this year’s Meroogal Women’s Art Prize, Made By Hand.

The dolls have no clothes on but have been sprayed with fluoro paint which increases their pinkness. They also can’t stand up because they are so poorly designed. They are still able to be active despite their limitations.

This photo was made up of 5 photos...1 Meroogal House, 2 photo of bush (photo-shopped together) 3 photo of chainsaws printed out cut out and made into model, 4 photo of grass printed out for them to sit on and finally photo of set-up in studio.


Kaye’s Talk

My work is Political Art, it is Subversive Art and Conceptual Photography

The theme of the exhibition was Made by Hand, my work is about making by hand. The work is subversive on a number of levels and can be analysed or understood from a number of viewpoints:

1 Historical-The women of Meroogal House were pioneering women. They were in the bush having to cope and do all the jobs. They were self sufficient making everything themselves.

2 Colonisation-The taking of aboriginal land by white people except in this case, very pink people.

3 Barbie Dolls-The Barbie dolls themselves are being subverted from the original purpose of feminisation and pre-sexualization of children. They have had their feminine clothes removed, hair cropped and sprayed with pink fluoro paint. They are depicting strong women able to use tools and in particular chainsaws. Although in this case OH&S issues abound as they have no protective gear or clothes on! However they are seriously disabled as their legs are totally useless they cannot stand up. But the Barbies have been rehabilitated.

4 Feminism- women can do anything and are encouraged to be resourceful, useful and handy –DIY- women.

5 Women without men- The Barbies as were the Meroogal Women were and are women without men. Lesbians?

6 Capitalism- The Meroogal Women owned to a large degree their means of production and were not into consumerism but were very frugal.



Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2009
Artist Statement Kaye Johnston


‘IDEAS’ 2009


The women of Meroogal had to deal with similar issues that we have today:

Control and taming of the land, growing food, dealing with the environment, water availability, wars, relationships, women’s Independence, transport etc.

My work references the ideas of colonisation (Real Estate signs) environmental concerns, drought, overpopulation, religion (text) + guns = war and transport issues. The little books have titles that have been important in my life and art and changed the lives of many women.

My art piece draws influences from Picasso, Joseph Cornell and Rosalie Gascoigne. It is a construction with assemblages.

Timber box and frame, real estate signs, metal tap, sardine tins, plastic figures, metal toy car, match boxes, inkjet printed paper and book labels, glue and nails.


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