#eye #eye

Jo Mellor uses textiles and threads to weave together a commentary on the environmental degradation on the Darling River in far West NSW that has been irrevocably altered by industry and government bodies. This environmental crisis has greatly affected the local Ngiyampaa and Barkandji community. To understand Country and as a non-Indigenous person, it became clear for Jo to understand the emotional impact of environmental mismanagement of Country through the guidance of an Aboriginal Elder. From this, a relationship and friendship were formed between Jo and Ngiyampaa Elder Aunty Beryl Carmichael that was ultimately contextualised through an eco-feminist and eco-activist approach with the aim of alerting others to the extent and complexity of ecological issues. They have yarned and discussed the ongoing demise of The Darling River as a direct consequence of water mismanagement and lack of Indigenous collaborative consultation. Jo collaborated on a protest banner series with Aunty that's been used in a protest alongside the local Barkandji community to convey mutual dissatisfaction with the management of their waterways. Jo photographs images of fish and animals that have perished and morphs these images into mirrored and repeated patterns. This method is analogous for the continued degradation of this place. The banners are printed onto sustainable fabric using a dye sublimation process. The banners are a transformative nexus between digital homogeneity of the printed textile and the domestic task of hand sewing and embroidery. They demonstrate associations of reclamation and repair through hand sewing in this era of climate uncertainty.

'Fish Skin' textile protest banner. (2021) Digital fabric print on sustainable linen. Embroidered and sewn with metallic and cotton thread. Hung on a curtain rod with remnant ribbon. (87 cm wide x 130cm long).

'Fish Skin' textile protest banner is accompanied by a framed photograph of the protest in
Menindee (2022).

The 'Fish Skin 'protest banner appears alongside other protest banners that the artist made for the protest along with the Barkandji artists protest signs. Protest performed in front of the Menindee graffiti bus. Barkandji artists - Cheryl Blore, Barb Quayle and Cindy Bates along with Sydney artists, Jenny Tubby, Terhi Hakola, Bernadette Facer, Tess Mullin and Jo Mellor and the Menindee Community took part in this event. 'Fish Skin' protest banner was inspired and driven by the intense environmental scenario surrounding the fish kills during the summer of 2018-2019. It triggered a profound emotional reaction within me, encouraging me to use a close-up photograph of a Murray River Cod found on the banks of the Darling River shortly after the fish kill event. I took a close-up photograph of fish scales, mirrored and repeated the pattern and printed it onto a sustainable linen. The fabric is embroidered and hand sewn with metallic and fluorescent thread. The textile protest banner represents a visual metaphor for colonisation over Country.