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Un Magazine 12.1

Decolonist Flags

Katie West

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7/22

Artist Page

Through natural dyeing techniques, text- based scores, social practice and installation my work considers the practising of custodial ethics within still colonised and ecologically compromised contexts.

The Decolonist Flags came about through imagining an Australian national identity underpinned by First Nations knowledges. Comprised of dyed thread, gum leaves and blossoms Decolonist Flag I is created with the material of Country. This work was the precursor to the installation Decolonist.

A couple of people who experienced Decolonist Flag II described the work to me as a skeleton of a flag. It could be either a skeleton stripped of its flesh or an armature waiting for new layers. Made using naturally dyed fabric exists, this skeleton exists within the Decolonist installation, within the video work Decolonist Meditation I. This video is essentially a guided mediation with a script that alludes to the complex and traumatic space that manifests with discussions surrounding Australian nationalism. It is
an offering and suggestion that meditation is a way to calm our minds and bodies and therefore a way to decolonise the self. Meditation is a way to find ourselves in a place where we can both speak and listen deeply.

Katie West, <em>Decolonist Flag II</em> 2016 West Space. Image: Christo Crocker.

Katie West, <em>Decolonist Flag II</em> 2016 West Space, installation view. Image: Christo Crocker.

Katie West, <em>Decolonist Flag I</em> 2015, naturally died string and native Australian plants.

Katie West is a Yindjibarndi woman who grew up on Noongar Yued country. She currently lives and works in Naarm on Wurundjeri country.

Decolonist was developed with the support of Next Wave Festival.