Regional Arts NSW
Skip to content

Regional Landscapes and People Celebrated at the Powerhouse Museum

The Cad Factory has recently returned from presenting an artwork called Shadow Places at the Powerhouse Museum for Sydney Design Festival, from 2 – 11 September.

Shadow Places consists of six round straw bales, with video projections onto the front of the bales with sound telling the story of local design. Alongside the straw bales are three large textile hangings linking the hay bales and video content.

The project has been devised by The Cad Factory’s Vic McEwan, and includes collaborations with the National Museum of Australia’s George Main and Sydney artist Nicole Barakat, who led textile workshops with local makers Caroline Applebee, Maxi Bohl, Julie Briggs, Kathleen Foster, Robyn Gown, Marilyn Manning, Holly McEwan, Sarah McEwan, Josie Middleton, Julie Montgarrett, Natalie Power, Lindee Russell and Joyce Spencer.

Local farmers, John and Kathleen Foster, Jan and Garth Strong and Graham and Amanda Strong have been included in the projection work, along with Colin Seis from the Gulgong district, in the central tablelands of NSW.

Voice over for the projection work was done by Boree Creek resident, Steve Harradine.

The artwork was presented as part of the Sydney Design Festival and celebrated the way farmers design and modify equipment, systems and processes in order to adapt and devise new practices.

The term ‘Shadow Places’ comes from the writings of eminent Australian philosopher Val Plumwood, who talked about the notion that our place in the world is supported by what she calls ‘Shadow Places’, referring to the places that we rely upon but don’t know. For example, urban people are intimately tied to area’s like the Riverina, for their food and fibre production, however, there is little opportunity for these people to get to know the land and communities that they rely upon.

Vic McEwan said, “It is a very important step to present a work like this as part of Sydney Design Festival. We are showcasing the idea that design doesn’t just happen in our capital cities, that in fact, user-led design is happing all over our regional areas. This has a big effect on people back in the cities, through improvements in production of food and fibre and also in the development of new types of more ecologically driven agricultural practices.”

The Powerhouse Museum estimate that 20,000 people saw this artwork in just 11 days. The inclusion of Shadow Places in such a high profile city institution has been a fabulous opportunity to share the story of the Narrandera region and to celebrate the community members involved in the project.