Vivienne Dadour – Snapshots, 2019

Vivienne Dadour – Detail from Snapshots, 2019

Snapshots and Stories attempts to articulate the conditions that existed for life and the forces that confronted individual and common realities in a time of great adversity. Consisting of an archive of approximately 200 photographs from a combination of Historical Society archival collections and contributions from the local community, this project is a commentary on ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Through these images the complexities of identity and place in the Blue Mountains Region during, and after, World War 2 are revealed.

Inspired by an amazing story described 20 years ago by a very close friend Lily Lynn nee Walter about her journey growing up in Shanghai, living in Germany with her family during WW2 and then migrating to Katoomba in1950 to meet with members of her family, who through the intervention of the International Red Cross had already migrated to the Blue Mountains. Lily often shared a family album of photo’s, which included snapshots of self,  family and places conveying the details and emotions of her journey.

As I also come from a migrant family, Lily’s story resonated with me providing the motivation for this project. After moving to Katoomba in 2014 I found myself drawn to finding traces of her experiences. Consequently, I became passionate about investigating personal, historical and political landscapes in public and private archives and collecting documents and contextual material that refer to this period.

From 2015-2019 I met with individuals and communities in the Blue Mountains and regional areas and asked them to select photographs that represented for them memories from 1939-1950 they would like included in an exhibition that reflected this dramatic war period. The photographs they contributed- snapshots of migrants, servicemen and women, war workers, volunteers and civilians elicit a remarkable wealth of information about survival and resilience and provide a strong sense of time and place.

Events are also displayed such as the first public radio transmission from inside the Katoomba mine c.1940; the opening of the Katoomba Boys and Girls Library and Craft Club in1942; the march of 4,000 soldiers from the A.I.F through the Blue Mountains in 1940.

In this exhibition some of the pictures are accompanied with a story and have been enlarged, cropped and /or interpreted in such away as to reveal and emphasize the story behind the picture. I have re-presented the pictures in the form of photograph albums where each album reveals snapshots of lived experience. Each album has been displayed in the gallery space in such a way as to suggest the idea of a meeting place of memories. Thus creating a meditative art space that allows viewers to contemplate the impact of the war on the lives and experiences of these people and consider the resonance of their time on the present. Viewers collaborate by finding stories that might be lost and/or recognise and become themselves an element in the archive. Thus, the material in the archive itself is extended to have a sense of “living” and relevance.

Snapshots acknowledgements

1 Snapshots Album cover

2A Lily Lynn nee: Walter and Anna Tonkin nee: Ankoodinoff, Katoomba, c1950
2B Margo Shiels nee: Tonkin, Katoomba, c1950
2C Anna and Mat Tonkin c1945, katoomba (Courtesy Lynn & Tonkin family archives)
2D &2E Katoomba Greets You, AIF march from Ingleburn to Bathurst, 1940  (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
2F Support China Day, Katoomba, 1942 (Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls, saved by Joan Edwards)

3A Gunner Harold Gilbert (Digger) Cooper, Australian Army, katoomba, 1942 (Courtesy Aunty Carol Cooper family archives)
3B Lillian Poulos, Greek Army, Greece, 1943 (Courtesy Poulos family archives)
3C Osborne Ladies College, Blackheath, 1945 (Courtesy Mt Victoria & District Heritage Museum)
3D Anzac Day March, Katoomba, 1947(Courtesy Katoomba RSL)
3E Anzac Day March, Katoomba, 1947 (Courtesy Katoomba RSL)
3F Boys Drumming, American Solders, Anzac March, Katoomba, 1947 (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)

4A Theo Poulos, Greek Army, Greece, 1945 (Courtesy Poulos family archives)
4B Theo Poulos, Greek Army, Greece, 1938 (Courtesy Poulos family archives)
4C Lillian and Theo Poulos, Greek Army, Greece, 1945 (Courtesy Poulos family archives)
4D Dr H.V Evatt with Ben Chifley, British Leaders Conference, London, 1946 (Courtesy Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum, Leura, Evatt family archives)
4E Dr H.V Evatt, Australian Delegate to United Nations, 1946 (Courtesy Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum, Leura, Evatt family archives)
4F Dr H.V Evatt with Sir Winston Churchill, London, 1944 (Courtesy Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum, Leura, Evatt family archives)

5A Australian Women’s Army Service, Bathurst, 1942 (Courtesy Mayo family archives)
5B Australian Women’s Army Service-Ambulance Drivers, Elsa Wentzel (nee: Mayo), Bathurst, 1942 (Courtesy Mayo family archives)
5C Australian Women’s Army Service-Ambulance Drivers, unknown, Elsa Wentzel (nee: Mayo), Bathurst, 1942 (Courtesy Mayo family archives)
5D Colin Booth, Sydney Harbor, saying goodbye, Sydney, c1940 (Courtesy Colin Booth Album, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
5E Colin Booth, Sydney Harbor, saying goodbye, Sydney, c1940 (Courtesy Colin Booth Album, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
5F Colin Booth, Bathurst, last glimpse, Bathurst, c1940 (Courtesy Colin Booth Album, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)

6A Mary, Vincent and Fehme Joseph ( lebanese original name Ghauulaub) Lithgow, c1950, (Courtesy Joseph family collection)
6B Anthony and Anthony Joseph, Father and Son, Lithgow, 2018 (Courtesy Joseph family archives)
6C Farmey, Mary, Isaac, Queenie, Tony, Anice Joseph, Lithgow, Children of Mary and Vincent Joesph, c1933 (Courtesy Joseph family archives)
6D Insourah Tanna nee: Coorey and Freda Budwee nee: Coorey, Campsie, c1968 (courtesy Budwee family collection)
6E Freda and Joe Budwee, The Wundabar, Lithgow, c1950 (Courtesy Budwee family archives)
6F Rosie Samyia nee: Budwee, Freda Budwee nee: Coorey and Joe Budwee, Lithgow, c1940 (Courtesy Budwee family archives)

7A Bodington Sanitorium Hospital, Wentworth Falls, 1941-42. (Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
7B Bodington Sanatorium Hospital, Wentworth Falls, 1941-42. (Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
7C  Bodington Sanitorium Hospital, Wentworth Falls. Unknown soldiers returning home, c1941-42. (Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
7D Ritz Hospital for recovering servicemen, Leura, 1945. (Courtesy Louise Dean family collection)
7E Ritz Hospital for recovering servicemen, Dora Hanger, Leura, 1945. (Courtesy Louise Dean family archives)
7F Ritz Hospital for recovering servicemen, Leura, 1945. (Courtesy Louise Dean family archives)

8A National Emergency Services Supervisors, Sydney Town Hall, 1942. (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
8B National Emergency Services Supervisors, Sydney Town Hall, 1942. (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
8C Camp in the Pine Forest, Lithgow, WW2. (Courtesy Small Arms Factory Museum, Lithgow)
8D Women Workers, Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, WW2. (Courtesy Small Arms Factory Museum, Lithgow)
8E Women Workers, Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, WW2.
(Courtesy Small Arms Factory Museum, Lithgow)
8F Women Workers, Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, WW2. (Courtesy Small Arms Factory Museum, Lithgow)

9A Dr Eric Dark, Varuna, Katoomba, with manuscript ‘The World Against Russia’ c1947 (Courtesy Dark family archives)
9B Eleanor Dark, Varuna, Katoomba with manuscript ‘Storm of Time’, c1947/48 (Courtesy Dark family collection)
9C L-R: Julie Heyting, Dymphna Cusack, Frances Heyting, Florence James, Peter Dent, Hazelbrook, 1947 (Courtesy Marilla North)
9D Opening Sydney Day Schools & Nursery Schools Ass’n. Katoomba Branch, Katoomba, L-R Ben Chifley PM, Mrs Apthorp. 1943. (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
9E Opening Sydney Day Schools & Nursery Schools Ass’n. Katoomba Branch, Katoomba, L-R Bill Freelander (mayor), Mrs Donalda McElone MBE (Association president), Joseph Jackson MP, Professor A P Elkin, 1943. (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
9F Ben Chifley, PM Australia with neighbor, Bathurst, 1946.(Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)

10A Opening the Young People’s Library, Katoomba, 1942. L-R Mary Matheson, Joseph Jackson MLA, Hon. Clive Evatt, (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
10B Opening the Young People’s Library, Katoomba, 1942. L-R Dr Eric Dark, Eleanor Dark, Michael Dark on chair, Mayor Freelander (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
10C Opening Stitchings Ladies Wear Shop, Lithgow, 1943 (Courtesy Stitchings Ladies Wear Shop, Lithgow)
10D Stocking Shop, Katoomba, unknown sales assistant, 1948 (Courtesy Betty Lenham family archives)
10E Stocking Shop, Katoomba, proprietor Harry Nlewodowski (Davis) 1948 (Courtesy Betty Lenham family archives)
10F Stocking Shop, Katoomba, proprietor Minna Davis nee: Kamienovski, 1948 (Courtesy Betty Lenham family archives)

11A Woodford Academy, Woodford, 1940, (Courtesy Woodford Academy National Trust Archives)
11B Woodford Academy, Woodford, 1940 (Courtesy Woodford Academy, National Trust Archives)
11C John McManamey, Woodford Academy, Woodford, 1940 (Courtesy Woodford Academy, National Trust Archives)
11D Henri Van de Velde and Sealyham Terrier, Everglades, Leura 1945 (Courtesy Everglades, National Trust Archive)
11E Everglades, Leura 1946 (Courtesy Everglades, National Trust Archives)
11F Everglades, Leura 1946 (Courtesy Everglades, National Trust Archives)

12A Kingsford Smith Park, Katoomba, 1940, (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
12B Kingsford Smith Park, Katoomba, 1940. (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
12C Katoomba Boy’s Band, Kingsford Smith Park, Opening Music Shell, Katoomba, 1940 (Courtesy Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection)
12D Radio Transmission, Katoomba Mine,  1940. (Courtesy Bennett collection, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
12E Radio Transmission, Katoomba Mine, 1940. (Courtesy Bennett collection, Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)
12F California Hotel, Katoomba, 1940. (Courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society, Wentworth Falls)

**

Vivienne Dadour’s curatorial and artistic practice is deeply committed to the social relevance of art. Since 1992, her interests have included political and social issues concerning racism, cultural difference and the complexities of identity. This has led her to seek interpretive strategies that challenge aspects of mainstream political discourse while encouraging dialogue and fostering understanding and tolerance of diversity. These interests have conceptualized Dadour’s past and current research based contemporary art exhibition projects that involve ethnographic and archival research-combining images, contextual materials and text, while focusing on working collaboratively with specific communities. 

Dadour has exhibited her work nationally and internationally being included in many public and private collections including Australian War Memorial Museum, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New England Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and NSW University Art Collection.

www.viviennedadour.com

 

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© Resilience in Times of Adversity, 2019