Squinch (uno)

Exhibition at Level, Brisbane, 27 August – 17 September, 2010.

Squinch is an architectural term that describes a small arch or vault, placed diagonally across the corner of a square or rectangular room and serving as an intermediary between this and a round superstructure. The transition between square or rectangular rooms and round domes was one of the chief problems of Islamic Architecture.

In October 2009 I travelled to Cordoba, Spain to research Islamic art, the first stage of an extended project. Squinch (uno) is my initial response to that experience, and marks an intermediary point in my research.

The imagery developed expresses my fascination with the cultural convergence that blossomed during the 700-year period when Andalusia was under Islamic rule: a confluence of traditions that resulted in a sophisticated hybrid culture. The work continues my ongoing investigation into translation and the fluidity of cultural identity, in particular the expression of world-view through material culture.

I was interested in the architectural forms of minarets and church towers and how they were requisitioned and then transformed as symbols of ascendant power. Architectural forms continue to hold potency. At the time I was in Spain a constitutional amendment banning the construction of new minarets was approved by 57.5% of the participating voters in Switzerland. I note Obama’s recent stand on the construction of a Mosque in lower Manhattan.

My travels followed in the footsteps of many other travelers to the region, including most famously Owen Jones and Washington Irving. This work draws from a number of references: objects from the Ethnographic Museum and the Mezquita - Great Mosque of Córdoba, the Sephardim Museum of Toledo, the streets of Granada and of course the most exquisite Alhambra.


Interview by Rachael Parsons.
Exhibition article for Eyeline by Louise Martin-Chew.

Acknowledgement: This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Installation view and detail

Photography by Rod Buchholz.

Process: development & installation

Photography by Mandy Ridley.