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Monday 15 July 2024

Behind the Apron

2 February - 10 March 2024

Behind the Apron

Sonia Ward

Sonia Ward, Weeping Mother, 2022, Digital composite photograph on cotton rag paper, 118 x 84cm.

The evocative household scene of portrait-lined walls and seated figures will be strangely familiar in Behind the Apron. Sonia Ward’s first solo exhibition examines how ancestry, secret-keeping and the remnants of the past impact future generations. The work plays with the relationship between the artist and viewer, establishing mnemonic prompts to shared personal, biographical and historical narratives.

“Engraved in my memory is the image of my grandmother wearing an apron. Only later in life have I learned about her past, the story behind her apron, the life events and hidden secrets that shaped her character.”
    ~ Sonia Ward

The artist’s memories and reflections on her familial histories initially prompted her to make experimentations on cloth–layering, dissolving and staining it to create evocative portraits. These experiments were further developed into a diverse body of work, including strangely familiar textiles, digital prints, and performance art.

Ward aims to emotionally connect with the viewer through their recognition of these objects, images and art historical references, and through real and implied memories from that process. The artist invites the viewer to connect by placing their own narrative within the space, to be self-aware, and to question what emotionally resonates. Do the floating portraits and childlike figures evoke feelings of familiarity, or are they the trace of another’s past life?

Sonia Ward is a multi-disciplinary artist, born in Adelaide and currently living and practicing in Townsville. Ward works with a range of recycled media from computer components to discarded bras. These discarded and found objects are transformed into humorous and occasionally unnerving characters with a puppet like appearance. The artist’s focus on process over product is evident in her two- and three-dimensional pieces with an aesthetic that leans towards the ugly rather than the aesthetically pleasing. She explores related and opposing themes such as consumerism, marketing to children, globalization, tribal behaviours, social media, theatrical behaviour, attraction and repulsion. Sonia graduated with a Bachelors Degree of Visual Arts in 2019, received a Deans Excellence Award in her first year and Academic Achievement Award upon completion. Sonia continues to experiment with new media and techniques. Completing a course in New Media Arts in 2021, Sonia enjoys weaving narratives and social commentary on current issues. Her work is held at CQ University, TAFE NQ, Townsville Women’s Centre and the Solar Park on Magnetic Island.

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(07) 4772 7109

408 Flinders Street,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

PO Box 2394,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region - Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal - as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

Umbrella is a Dealer Member of the Indigenous Art Code. This means we are committed to fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork. As a Dealer Member and signatory to the Code we must act fairly, honestly, professionally and in good conscience in all direct or indirect dealings with artists.


Umbrella is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments. | Umbrella is supported by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and receives funding from Creative Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund. | Townsville City Council is a funding partner of Umbrella's program.