Nona GarciaThe Philippines b.1978 / Hallow (detail) 2015 / Glazed digital backlit film / © The artist / Installation view, Blanc Gallery, Manila / Courtesy: The artist and Blanc Gallery / Photograph: MM Yu

Nona Garcia
Hallow 2015

On Display: QAG

Hallow 2018 uses the large windows at the entrance of the Queensland Art Gallery as natural light boxes, similar to stained-glass windows in a church. For her artwork, she has arranged the X-rayed bones of animals into a mandala design — a symmetrical pattern comprised of concentric circles. Each bone is placed in patterns that look like flowers and spirals from a distance. It is only when you look closely that you can see they are tiny parts of an animal’s spinal cord or skull. The artist uses the bones of hyenas, camels, crocodiles, beavers, birds and deer, as well as coral in her artworks, which are celebrations of life and reminders of death.

Nona Garcia grew up in Manila in the Philippines, with doctors for parents, and she spent a lot of time at the hospital where they worked. As a young girl, she used the hospital’s X-ray equipment to view everyday objects in a new way. As an artist, she creates works that explore the hidden meanings of objects.

Before

Have you ever had an X-ray? What do you see in an X-ray image?

What culture do mandalas come from? What is their purpose?

Can you think of patterns that are similar to this one? Where have you seen them?

During your visit to APT9

Look closely at the objects in Nona Garcia’s artwork. What types of animal bones can you recognise? How do these objects relate to each other? What is the effect of seeing these objects as an X-ray image?

Look through the work to the view outside the Gallery. What is the effect of the artwork on the view?

How does this artwork explore life and death?

Compare

  • Nona Garcia’s artwork with Aisha Khalid’s hanging textile work in GOMA. Discuss how both artists encourage us to look more closely at patterns.
  • Nona Garcia’s X-rays of animal bones with Anne Noble’s portraits of dead bees.

After

Collect X-ray images that you find online, and photocopy them to make multiple copies. Cut out and collage pieces of the copies to make repeated patterns. Explore digital imaging apps (for example, Adobe Capture) to make kaleidoscope patterns.

Experiment with photogram techniques in a darkroom.

Fold and cut out paper ‘snowflake’ patterns. Layer them over other images to hide and reveal elements of the underlying images.

Contemporary context

How does Nona Garcia:

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • employ imagery and/or display techniques to challenge aesthetic traditions?

Personal context

How does Nona Garcia:

Personal context

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Nona Garcia:

  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Nona Garcia:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?