In December 2013, Sue Tilley and her husband, Brett, bought the old Drill Hall in North Ward, and started the huge task of repairing and restoring the old place, with a vision to transform it from a termite eaten ruin, to a trendy gallery, sculpture garden, office and home.
The process took over 18 months, and was labour of love. The Studio 2 team (a previous gallery I worked in) even pitched in, helping remove 11,000 tacks from the lovely old Hoop pine floors. The building͛s significance comes from more than a century of continuous Military occupation and its role in recruitment for WWI. There are only two Colonial era Drill Hall’s remaining in Queensland now- the other being in Rockhampton. The first Exhibition held at the Drill Hall after opening was using all the debris from the renovations thrown into the skip and other ‘leftover bits’ from our own workshops.
Using the history of the Drill Hall for my piece, this is what I came up with. This piece is called ‘ Guarded Relics͛ made for the Patina exhibition at The Drill Hall Studio (link) back in 2014.
This is my story about the piece:
Thinking of the history of the Drill Hall and its association with military personnel throughout the many conflicts of war, I called this piece ‘Guarded Relics͛. The nails and copper fused together create the ‘treasure͛ that during conflict is often guarded sometimes with the ultimate price paid for. The ‘treasure͛ is bright and shiny and, as with our ͛ War Heroes͛, never forgotten.
The cage reflects separately prisoners of war being held in captivity and how precious they were to their families, hence the reason for the shine on the copper and the link to treasure, raised high on a pedestal. The extra turret surround is portrayed as a solid bunker or fortress, surrounding the piece with extra protection to the ‘treasure’, and all the spikes represent weapons of war or deterrents for gaining access or escape. The round spiral shapes are clustered together to symbolise poppies in a field as the Emblem of Remembrance.