There are threads linking Sydney’s sandstone bedrock with early human kinship
systems that scholars cite as matrilineal
[1] [2] [3]. Both are historic and symbols for stability and endurance. Acknowledging this, and as a migrant Australian drawing from two cultures, I create an abstract, visual autoethnography regarding my female heritage. Crossing three generations: myself, Mum and her mother, I source family heirlooms and rituals juxtaposed with local, native flora to form a biomorphic extension to the site - an underground chamber at The Coal Loader. "Matter" comes from the Latin word mater meaning “mother.” Manifestations of matter, the elements, are central to the process: water in papermaking, earth in pigment and site, fire connecting core memories and patterns. Air in the scent of sampaguita (national flower of The Philippines) adds another nostalgic, sensory dimension. Loosely integrating the multi-level landscape of Filipino rice terraces with Sydney’s heritage sandstone bridges cultural associations, celebrating matrilineage, resilience and strength of the Divine Feminine archetype.

1 Chris Knight, 2012. Engels was Right: Early Human Kinship was Matriliineal, URL: accessed on 30 September 2017.
2 Hrdy, S. B. 2009. Mothers and others. The evolutionary origins of mutual understanding. London and Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
3 Opie, K. and C. Power, 2009. Grandmothering and Female Coalitions. A basis for matrilineal priority? In N. J. Allen, H. Callan, R. Dunbar and W. James (eds.), Early Human Kinship. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 168-186.

Pictures: © Anne Numont, Generations, 2018. Handmade paper and pulp, fire, pigment, pastel binder (gum tragacanth), pastel, PVA, sampaguita scent, local vegetation: bottlebrush, gum nuts, eucalyptus leaves and banksia, rosary beads, crocheted paper thread, everlasting flowers (Xerochrysum Helichrysum). Dimensions: variable. Site: Chamber 23 (off Tunnel 1), The Coal Loader, Waverton NSW Australia. Images: courtesy the artist.


Generations is supported by a grant from the NSW Government through Create NSW, and administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).