The taboo nature of mothers who kill their children can be overwhelming. The weight of this type of historical information can potentially burden the creative response with pre-conceptions; the suffering and death leading to simple articulation of the case studies. By allowing artists space for immersion in the understanding of a colonial woman’s life, The Spaces Between Us seeks to transcend historical narrative, and breathe life into the spaces between what is known and unknown about women who committed infanticide in colonial Western Australia between 1829 and 1901.
Little documentation survives to provide evidence of the lives of colonial women who committed these crimes. Many of the women were not literate. As these cases often occurred within narratives of secrecy and abuse of power, compounded by experiences of sexual trauma or indiscretion, their crimes have been submerged under fear and shame.
With the support of Amanda Gardiner, the six artists in this exhibition have used archival, visual and performing arts research to re-contextualise such cases of infanticide. The exhibition has emerged both as a form of historical witnessing and a nuanced invitation for audiences to engage with topics of violence and trauma.