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Janet Fieldhouse

Artist's Work

Confluence Scarification Hybrids Series 5

    Work introduction





    As a female Torres Strait Islander artist, Fieldhouse acknowledges the traditions of navigation and living off the sea and the land, and highlights the importance of traditional women’s practices, such as tattooing, body adornment and scarification for ceremony. Fieldhouse transmits these two-dimensional designs, which are traditionally associated with ritual mark making, into three-dimensional forms through the use of clay.


    Confluence Scarification Hybrids Series 5 celebrates a sense of self through the exploration of ancient processes of female mark making, the artist’s heritage and her personal journey. The buff raku element of the work is indicative of designs and patterning in traditional tattooing where girls and women at certain stages of life participated in ritual ceremonies to celebrate resilience and womanhood. Although whimsical in appearance, the artist’s intentions are to conceal cultural information by limiting the amount of design and surface work within the forms.


    Fieldhouse embraces her heritage through concepts of stabilisation and balance, with the exposed buff raku forms referencing her Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander heritage and the ‘white’ Southern Ice porcelain elements signifying her European ancestry. Fieldhouse conveys a sense of tranquillity through the bringing together of these two elements of her heritage.




    Teho Ropeyarn

    Artist and Curator

    Angkamuthi, Yadhaykana people

    Artist Biography




    Born in Cairns, Queensland, Janet Fieldhouse is of Torres Strait Islander heritage. Janet studied art at the Cairns TAFE before moving to Canberra where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) with Honours in 2004, and a Master of Philosophy (Visual Arts) in 2010, both from the School of Art at the Australian National University.


    Janet’s ceramic hand-built forms acknowledge the Torres Strait traditions of navigation, living off the sea and the land, and women’s traditional adornment practices such as weaving body adornments for ceremony and scarification.


    My work is an expression of my Torres Strait Islander heritage: the material culture, rituals of social and religious life, and artefacts which are created to fulfil the functional and spiritual needs of the peoples of the Torres Strait.


    Janet was awarded the inaugural Indigenous Ceramic Art Award from Shepparton Art Museum in 2007, and again in 2012. In 2017 Janet was recipient of the Australia Council residency at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, USA, and in 2019 was awarded the Premier’s Prize for Excellence for her exhibition at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Janet has exhibited widely throughout Australia over the past decade including recently in The National: New Australian Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019), The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2018-19) and Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2015).


    Her artworks are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australian Parliament House Collection, Shepparton Art Museum, and the Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, USA amongst others. Janet currently lives and works in Queensland. She is represented by Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne.