Debra Dawes: At Her Majesty’s Pleasure 2010

Beginning in April 2010, Debra Dawes corresponded with a young man known to her since his birth. Over the duration of his incarceration, on remand awaiting sentence, ‘DR’ and Dawes exchanged letters weekly. The necessity to nurture fragile connections and to understand something of his experience provided a profound impetus for this pursuit.

Art Exhibition previously on at Gallery Barry Keldoulis in New South Wales, Australia.
From Saturday 05 May 2012 to Saturday 16 June 2012

Debra Dawes: At Her Majesty’s Pleasure 2010 image Debra Dawes: At Her Majesty’s Pleasure 2010 image

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 09 May 2012.
Contact the publisher.

Dawes “learned how to ride and render the shapes and stutters of his words till she could feel some of his experience embodied, till she possessed for herself some of the spirit she knew he still had.” Ross Gibson, 2012

The letters, received over an eighteen-month period, record experiences and charged responses to the extreme limitation of incarceration. From the letters, Dawes has with DR’s permission, created a series of works on paper. The series comprises almost 200 text pieces that record his side of their exchange from its commencement in April 2010 until September 2011.

The process of making the series from the letters began in July 2011. Excerpts were selected based on her subjective response to the range of experiences reported in the letters including the day-to-day monotony as well as the pervasive level of intimidation and violence endured by the inmates. The excerpts highlight various states of mind; self-reflection, raw humour, anxiety and irony. Exhibiting this work will, from his point of view, enable some understanding of what it is like to be in prison.