Tai SnaithImpossible Bouquet
Tai Snaith, Slow dash to the border 2021, black midfire ceramic, photograph: Matthew Stanton
Impossible Bouquet by Melbourne artist Tai Snaith is a contemporary intervention into the domestic setting of the Heide Cottage, and comprises a number of ceramic vases and sculptures that speak to the domestic sphere and the current environment in which we are living. During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, when Melburnians were home bound for extended periods of time, Snaith turned her gaze inwards to produce organic forms that not only speak to the challenges of this time, but also to the capacity for these vessels to be carriers of hope; where ideas (like seeds) can germinate, grow and bloom.
Redolent of insects inspecting for decay, Snaith’s ceramic intruders appear at the edges of the cottage’s interstices: the oven, fireplaces, mantels, the bath, and library bookshelves. Though rarely subject to contemporary intervention or critically engaged with, these romanticised domestic spaces were the setting against which so much of Heide’s complicated social history unfolded. A history of blurred boundaries, of obligation, control, and of pressures to balance conflicting public and private identities. A history based on the physical and spiritual displacement of those who lived here before. Entering through the widening cracks, Snaith’s clay slugs and snails quietly circle decomposing narratives. Mushrooms and ambiguous organic forms emerge from dark corners and feed on the matter collecting in the damp, still recesses of the cottage’s memories. Excerpt from Annika Aitken’s essay Over Flow, 2021.
Tai Snaith is an artist, author and broadcaster living on unceded Wurundjeri land on the banks of the Merri Creek. Her artwork celebrates the intersection of stories, collections, people and place, and how objects like books and vessels can illustrate the times we live in as well as shedding light on the past.