In 2019 I lost my mum to cancer very rapidly. In her final months, writing became our main form of contact. Several days after she died, a letter I wrote to her arrived, it had been delayed in the mail. I kept reading over the letter, these words she never received, circling over my final sign off a customary ‘I love you’. In Memory is inspired by the at once deeply personal and yet collectively shared experience of grief, loss and mourning. Monumental in scale, In Memory is made up of over 150 canvas squares cut to standard quilting size and sewn together to construct a large painting. Each square is intricately and individually designed using sign writing techniques, repetitive graphics and decorative motifs. Drawing on the tradition of mourning quilts; large handmade textiles to express and commemorate both personal and community grief, In Memory is a meditation on the complexity of grief, the inevitability of change and the ongoing process of life.
Commissioned by Bus Projects. The exhibition at Bus Projects from 30 November - 18 December 2021 was accompanied by an essay by Linda Dement.
In Memory, 2019–21, canvas, gesso, ink, quilting thread, wooden dowell. 160 squares 29.21cm ea. Total dimensions 292 cm x 457 cm. Image: Christo Crocker.
Kelly Doley, In Memory, detail views 2019 - 2021. Photo: Zan Wimberley.
Kelly Doley, In Memory, work in progress image at Powerhouse studios Sydney, 2020. Photo: Zan Wimberley.