Each month over a 10-month period from October 2007 to July 2008 Normana Wight made a postcard in an edition of 40 and each month that month’s postcard with a personal message was posted to a ‘select few’ including family members and friends in Australia and overseas. The title Wight gave this project of 10 postcards was ‘then and there 1937 – 1946’.
‘then and there’ is based on a group of photographs of the Wight family from this period of upheaval. These photographs along with comments and sometimes drawings on the back were included by Wight’s mother in letters to her sister living in North-West Western Australia to keep her up-to-date with the family in Victoria. In 2007 they were returned to the artist and sparked the ‘then and there’ project.
Wight’s artist book Posted is based on the making of those postcards. It opens with a reproduction of the first postcard showing a photograph of the artist’s father standing alongside the family car. A drawing, almost a doodle, taken from the back of the photograph is the house planned for this plot on the Mornington Peninsula. It is titled ‘c. 1937 father – car – dream’. This dream was never fulfilled. Wight’s father was an RAAF pilot whose aircraft disappeared in New Guinea during the war and was not found until some 20 years later.
Just as memories jump back and forth, Posted is neither a chronological report of the family nor of the decade. The artist’s jottings on torn scraps of paper are preparatory notes from the ‘then and there’ project. Postage stamps are used throughout and refer both to the ‘through-the-post’ project as well as to original letters posted to North-West Western Australia. They sometimes point to a specific ‘postcard’ as in page 4, which shows the garage that became home to the family from 1942 – 1949 and a postage stamp of a Border Collie, a reference to the family pet. The rubber stamped ‘Postage Paid Australia’ with a self-portrait was used on invitations to Wight’s exhibition held at grahame galleries in 1994.
A photograph of bushland on page 7 carries a notation made by the artist’s father, ‘On this site we hope to build a long-low-white house’. Wight adds her own poignant comment, ‘The evaporation of dreams.’ Despite the evaporate dreams Posted is nevertheless is full of hope.
Concertina Format, 19.0 x 19.5 cm. Edition of 10 plus 2 AP Bound by Fred Pohlmann. Published by numero uno publications, Brisbane.
Publisher: numero uno publications – grahame galleries + editions
2009 Posted, grahame galleries + editions, 2009
2017 &So… Artists’ books from the Centre for the Artist Book – Queensland College of Art Library, Griffith University
State Library of Victoria
Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne
National Library of Australia
State Library of Queensland
University Art Museum, The University of Queensland
Centre for the Artist Book