Stitching shipwrecks, survivors and circling crocs for ReCollection exhibition

Every stitch tells a story, but this isn't your Nanna's needlework.

 Rockhampton artist Peta Lloyd.  (Photo supplied.)

Rockhampton artist Peta Lloyd.  (Photo supplied.)

Innovative Rockhampton artist Peta Lloyd has turned her hand to textiles for her latest work, using everything from Bible pages to weathered canvas tarpaulins to tell a historic story of trauma and survival.

The work is part of the upcoming exhibition ReCollection, a team effort from five local printmakers exploring the stories, places and faces of Rockhampton's past.  This all-new exhibition draws on historical accounts from this "city of sin, sweat, and sorrow", and features the work of Peta Lloyd, Belinda McGrath, Derek Lamb, Clare Ford and Michelle Black.  

Peta's work tells the story of the shipwreck of the Maria as recounted in The Early History of Rockhampton by J.T.S. Bird.  The wreck off the Central Queensland coast in the 1870s left 13 survivors adrift on a makeshift raft for three harrowing days and nights.  Eight survivors made it to shore, where they faced further danger including 'alligators' - more likely hungry crocs.

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"Retelling the story of a handful of survivors from the Maria has been a humbling experience."

Artist Peta Lloyd

"Each stitch brings my thoughts to the 75 men on board the Maria," Peta says.

"What would it have been like to drown, or be taken by a shark, or to be so exhausted that you're unable to grab the side of the raft after it's overturned for the umpteenth time? 

"What thoughts would go through your mind?  What emotions would you experience?

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And when you do finally reach land after being tossed by a relentless sea for three days and nights how do you continue to survive?

Artist Peta Lloyd

"These sombre thoughts have been keeping me company as I stitch together textiles to recount the story of the Maria and of Thomas Ingham, one of the 36 survivors."

You can see the ReCollection exhibition for free during Beef Australia 2018 in early May.  ReCollection will be open daily from 10am - 4pm from May 6-12 at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre, or see it first by joining the artists for the grand opening from 6pm on Saturday, May 5.

The project has been made possible by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government  and Rockhampton Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.  The artists also acknowledge the support of Arts Central Queensland Inc and Capricornia Printmakers Inc.