Upcoming Exhibition at the George Paton Gallery


A ‘cloth-art’ exhibition featuring the artwork of Tal Fitzpatrick alongside
the artwork of her grandmother Dawn Fitzpatrick

Exhibition dates: Wednesday 31 August – Friday 9 September
Closing Event/Artist Talk:  5pm-7pm Friday 9 September     

Dawn Fitzpatrick, Magnolia (1989) | Tal Fitzpatrick, Chinese Urns/White blossoms (2016)
Both works are appliqué quilted hangings, 11mmx110mm, images courtesy of the artists

‘DAWN & I’ is an exhibition that, for the first time ever, places the artwork of Tal Fitzpatrick side-by-side with the artwork of her paternal grandmother Dawn Fitzpatrick. The exhibition explores the relationship between these two artists, unpacking how techniques, ideas, experiences and memories can be captured and communicated across generations. While at the same time reflecting on the significant differences in the social, political and cultural conditions that shaped the experiences of these artists.

In the early 1970s Dawn Fitzpatrick coined the term ‘cloth-art’ to describe her unique approach of using textiles to create bold large scale figurative wall hangings. For the next 25 years Dawn continued to make work by combining the techniques of appliqué quilting with drawing, painting and silk screen printing. Over the course of her career Dawn exhibited both locally and internationally, and her works are held in several major public collections including at the NSW Parliament House, Sydney, Old Parliament House Museum, Canberra and The Bush Museum, Texas. Dawn published one book titled Folk Art Appliqué Quilts (1990) and to this day, at the age of 94, she continues to draw every day.

Tal Fitzpatrick took up creating artwork using Dawn’s ‘cloth art’ style in 2014 as part of her practice-led PhD research into craftivism and the political moment. Tal’s approach incorporates Dawn’s techniques with the strategies of socially-engaged-art and craftivism in an exploration of this mediums potential to work as a form of activism and advocacy. To date she has undertaken projects in partnership with community groups and NGO’s to create artworks such as the ‘PM Please’ project which involved hand-stitching 121 messages to the newly appointed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull onto a wagga quilt and giving it to him as a gift, and the IWDA Fifty Fifty project which involved giving away 50 appliqué portraits to the first 50 people who donated $50 or more to the International Women’s Development Agency.


As part of this exhibition Tal will be setting up her sewing studio in the gallery, creating new work in situ for the duration of the exhibition. Gallery audiences are invited to engage with Tal as she works – either by contributing a drawing that Tal will incorporate into the work or by getting hands on and learning how to make an appliqué bird with Tal’s guidance.

Tal will be giving a free artist talk as part of the closing event on Friday 9th of September which will include a demonstration of her process and Q&A session. Audiences at the closing event will also be treated to very special reading by Autumn Royal who will mark the closing of Hannah Gartside’s exhibition Felt and Held in the entrance gallery.


Second floor, Union House, University of Melbourne GALLERY HOURS: 11am-5pm Monday to Friday | T: 8344 5418 E: gpg@union.unimelb.edu.au | W: union.unimelb.edu.au/gallery

This exhibition has been supported by the Creative Arts Department and the University of Melbourne Student Union.


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