Linda Adair is a (re)emerging artist (having stopped art making as worklife and family took up her time) and is a poet, writer and a publisher of Rochford Press, and co-editor of the online Rochford Street Review. She spent most of her early years living unwittingly on Dharug Land and now works and lives on Dharug and Gundungarra lands in the Blue Mountains. She has First Nations people in her family and pays her respects to the Traditional custodians of the land and Elders past present and emerging on whose land these images were made and where they are shown.
Adair’s artwork has been shown in Sewn Up and Sewn Up 2 in 2019, at BigCi Open Day on 15 May 2022 and this is her first solo exhibition.
Her debut collection The Unintended Consequences of the Shattering was published in 2020 by Melbourne Poets Union and her work has been the anthologised in the following collections: To End All Wars, Messages from The Embers, Poetry for the Planet, Pure Slush Volume 25 and the Volume on Work. She has been published in various online and print journals, both in Australia and internationally.
She has read her poems at festivals, conferences and venues around the country and has been a featured poet in Cuplet, Newcastle, Live Poets at Don Banks, and will be reading in Poetry at the Pub in October.
Exhibition: FINDING JESS OF NEWNES-
AN INDUSTRIAL GHOST TOWN ON UNCEDED WIRADJURI AND DHARUG LANDS
19 October - 16 November 2022
Aunty Jesse was a favourite aunt and one of the great influences in my early childhood. Researching our family history, I had found that she was born in Newnes a century ago and, pre-Covid, I visited the museum at the Newnes Hotel and crossed the fjord to walk along the industrial relics side of the Wolgan River to understand what her experiences were like. In the museum I found evidence that her parents and grandparents lived there in the early optimistic days and just after the First World War.
I decided I wanted to know more about what life would have been like for Jessie of Newnes so applied for an artist residency at BigCi, Bilpin on Dharug land. I knew the BigCi library had information about the Wollemi, and in particular the Wolgan Valley and the town that began as Wolgan but was renamed to honour the capitalist who spent a fortune building the shale mining complex.
Most of the canvases here were painted in April-May this year as an adjunct to writing a series of poems, of which Wander on paper grounds appears below.
By painting scenes from photographs either those I had taken or from historic photos in guidebooks of the Wolgan as well as shots I took on a group field trip out to the Capertee, I encountered the topography that would have surrounded my aunt as a child. And it was a topography of the pagodas that fascinated me. Painting and writing interplayed to help me answer heartfelt questions and consider from a child’s point of view what life would have been like in the sad failed town that was the bedrock of the character of a generous and sophisticated woman I knew. Jesse lived on Gadigal lands as a young woman so it is an honour to have her story appear here.