Meroogal Women's Art Prize Finalist 2014
The diaries of Kenina Thorburn and the Meroogal music collection provide wonderful links to the past. ‘Letters to Tot’ allowed me to play in the space of Meroogal and create an imaginary conversation through historical research, prose, music and sound.
During my research for the work I read that Tot and her sisters liked to “…sit on the side verandah and wait for the postman to come each morning at 11 o’clock, he would bring the letters...” It was also mentioned that Aunt Tot was usually the one who read out loud. After reading this I knew the direction that the work would take. I thought that Tot might welcome some new mail and over a period of months I wrote and posted letters to Tot that responded to her diaries, her sheet music collection and the stories from life at Meroogal. These letters and postcards are on display on a wicker table on the side verandah and vistors are welcome to read the correspondence. Read letters 1 - 4 here. Whilst sitting there you can hear the soft echoes of the soundwork as it rises through the floorboards. The soundwork is in ten movements and reflects the content of the letters.
In recording the gramophone, contemporary piano renditions of Tot’s sheet-music and a choir at the Berry School of Arts, I also learnt that Tot’s music is still being played and sung locally.
Thankyou to: Bethany Morris for playing Tot’s piano music
Local choir Cantares singing ‘Wild mountain Thyme’
Soloist Kerry Nicholson singing an excerpt from ‘Faure’s Requiem’
Meroogal for allowing access to records & excerpts of the voice of June Wallace