The installation VETULONIA – 2019 combines several of Swinburn’s concerns and practices into one. Made from documents relating to the displacement of archeological pieces from the historical Persian, Summer & Assur Empires , it brings us closer to the topic of cultural identity on the one hand as it refers to one of the cradles of civilisation, while aiming to strengthen the integration between various communities from the Global South in making reference to female resilience.

Having operated as both cloak or armour – depending on the viewer’s interpretation – this piece also contains dual significance in its final form, given the piece was previously worn by the artist in a performance and later boxed and displayed as a sculpture. The artwork is therefore activated by the artist’s position as both fabricator and performer of the sculpture. This could be seen as a metaphor for resistance, where woven narratives are portrayed as a substitute for the silence of women throughout history.

Lastly, it is important to remember that Swinburn’s sensational sculptures are produced by intricately weaving pages of texts together into constructed robust structures. Through this labour intensive approach, the material transforms from delicate pages of books to garment-like arrangements that the artist then wears as a cloak to perform in, as such her works undergo an important process of transformation and recycling.

The recycling aspect in this work happens through many dimensions: content, form and process. Following her performances, the works become sculptures with a history of their own and result in an amalgamation of history and memory. Regenerating these narratives articulates for the artist both a sense of urgency and a mode of resistance.


Woven paper investiture from vintage documentacion on stone displaced archeaological pieces from Persian, Summer & Assur Empires..
270h x 130w cm