Reliquary

n. a receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics.

Commemorating the 2015 ANZAC Centenary, Reliquary is an installation work that considers the significance that relics - objects attributed with significant historical, social and cultural value - have, especially as part of reflection and remembrance on times of conflict.


Recalling various times of conflicts that Australia has been involved in, a number of Murraylands residents were interviewed about their own or relatives’ experiences during war.

Questions included:

  • What is your name?


  • When and where were you born?


  • Describe your life from birth up until the time of conflict you were involved in


  • Describe your experiences in conflict/during the time of conflict


  • What impact did your experiences during time of conflict have on you?


  • Is there anything that you’d like future generations to learn from your experiences?

Recordings of these conversations were then edited down to concise interviews, each sharing a similar narrative structure, but allowing residents to recollect their unique circumstances and reflections. Under this, a soundscape comprising of public-domain sourced sound objects related to the content of the stories, and an arrangement entitled Last Cycle (a slow, spacious procession of the Last Post over cycles of chords), have been placed.

A hand-drawn map of the town featured, marking out significant places that were effected by Australia’s response to the war efforts.

Generous contributions from members of the community also provided physical items ranging across all described periods of conflict.

If the space might be considered a large reliquary, then these objects, both ephemeral and physical, act as relics on which we might reflect and meditate about the life-changing experiences of our service people and citizens at home and abroad, and the significant changes that have occurred locally as a result of global events.

Without the much appreciated support of numerous people from the Murraylands community, this project would have not been produced.

It is to its residents - past battlers, present custodians, and future generations - that this work is dedicated.

Sincere thanks and gratitude go to:

Melinda Rankin, Detlef Baumer and the staff of the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, Matthew Button, Jan and Rob Smyth, Ken and Chris Melville, Sue Foster, Ken Wells, Ella Joan Mobbs, Ron Parsons, Margaret Boyd, Eric Male, Stephen White, Bob England and the generous contributors of physical relics