The Unfurling

Suzanne Davey The Unfurling 10m x 3m x 2m, recycled clothing, resin, steel

The Unfurling is a large scale site responsive installation of suspended body ‘voids’ created from recyled clothing and resin, harnessing wind and light. The work was exhibited as part of the North Sydney Art Prize 2015 at the Coal Loader Waverton.  The site is located on the shores of Sydney harbour and examines the coast as a place of sanctuary.

The Unfurling is a response to the debate surrounding vulnerable populations arriving on Australian shores and beyond, and the human costs. Individual rights and national interests are given precedence over collective human rights. Tragedy grips people dreaming of sanctuary but who are subjects to forces beyond their control through war, politics and discrimination.
Clothing is utilised as a social and cultural signifier of identity, memory and psychological ties with others. The clothes become traces of the bodies that once occupied them, ‘voids’, and on mass symbolise the collective struggles of vulnerable people. 

Wind choreographs movement in the collective and subjects them to elemental forces beyond their control. The sculptures are translucent and reflect natural light as they move.

The work was inpired by the poems of Mena Johnson, a poet that I collaborated with for the On Islands project at Eramboo Artist Environment.

The Unfurling installation detail On Islands project

The Unfurling installation view On Islands project

The Unfurling installation video showing movement, On Islands project

The Unfurling installation details On Islands project

The Unfurling bushand installation view On Islands project

Groundswell Public Art Installation

Suzanne Davey, Groundswell, recycled clothing, resin, paint, steel, 350cm x 800cm x 400cm

Groundswellis an energetic public art installation created for the ENLIVEN festival, Mona Vale. The work was commissioned by Pittwater Council and was made in partnership with the charity Lifeline.

Made from donated recycled clothing Groundswellis a suspended installation made from pants of all shapes and sizes. Lots of legs appear to be surging forward, walking and running, and hopefully creating a ripple in the local community.
The work draws inspiration from the site. Davey states, “ As soon as I saw the Lifeline Centre in Bungan Laneway and its recycled clothing I knew exactly what I wanted to do. To me Lifeline is all about reaching out to life and connecting with others for support. Clothing is all about people and living.”

Special thanks to Lifeline for their generous donation of clothing.

Groundswell installation , shadow detail
Family enjoying the Groundswell installation at the ENLIVEN festival
Rear view detail, Groundswell installation
Detail, Groundswell

Window reflection, Groundswell

The Echo of Invisible Things HIDDEN

Suzanne Davey, The Echo of Invisible Things, clothing, resin, paint, 240cm x 60cm x 60cm

The Echo of Invisible Thingsis a memorial column, dedicated to human fragility and vulnerability. It is a response to contemporary narratives of abuse, homelessness, abandonment and neglect by public institutions.  The work uses a a classic architectural element to reference institutions such as churches, temples, museums, theatres and government.  Clothing is utilised as a social and cultural signifier of identity, memory and our psychological ties with others. The clothes are traces of the bodies that once wore them, mementos to individual and collective lived experiences; an echo of tragedy.

Installed in Rookwood Cemetery the work references memorial and funerary architecture such as chapels, arches, churches and temples.
Above: Clothing detail, Suzanne Davey, The Echo of Invisible Things, clothing, resin, paint, 240cm x 60cm x 60cm

Sweet Surrender

Suzanne Davey, Sweet Surrender, ceramic, metal, 220 cm x 220cm x 30cm

A protective response to the fragility of the delicate ecosystem of Stony Range; captured, completely surrounded and held to ransom by the encroaching urban environment.

 A site specific work installed in Stony Range Regional Botanical Garden 2014.

Overhead installation view, Sweet Surrender, ceramic, metal, 220 cm x 220cm x 30cm

Installation detail, Sweet Surrender, ceramic, metal, 220 cm x 220cm x 30cm

Ceramic detail, Sweet Surrender, ceramic, metal

Installation view, Sweet Surrender, ceramic, metal, 220 cm x 220cm x 30cm

A Thousand Steps: Keeping Company Manly Art Gallery and Museum

Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm

A Thousand Steps is an installation created for the Manly Art Gallery & Museum ‘Keeping Company’ exhibition. New works were made in response to a range of artworks held in the Manly Art Gallery & Museum collection. A broad range of art media was represented including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, printmaking, textiles and glass. A Thousand Steps responds to Paola Talberts photograph, Kairos (moment of truth), 2000.

Paola Talbert, Kairos (Moment of truth), 2000, Type C LED print, 47 x 74cm,
Manly Art Gallery & Museum collection purchased 2004

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greekword meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). Signifies a time between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens.

Artist Statement

I was immediately drawn to Paola Talberts work, Kairos. The sensuality of the image with its dreamy, floating figure catching her breath and her rich and moody use of light and transparency all had great appeal. I have responded to the work both materially, through the use of fabric and conceptually, by exploring journeys and transition points. Wings have long been metaphors for our desires to explore, take flight, and soar to new heights. A Thousand Steps marks our day to day hopes and struggles as we journey through life.

Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm

Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm

Concept proposal drawing

The Shape of Air: exhibition at Eramboo Artist Environment

Suzanne Davey, Zest (maquette), twigs, grasses, wire, wax, 50 x 90 x 40cm

The Shape of Air was exhibited at Eramboo Artist Environment and comprised of works by installation artists Suzanne Davey and Ainslie Murray exploring the tangible nature of air and material echo. Curated by Greg Stonehouse the works investigate a range of ideas drawn from notions about air and immaterial space such as breath, presence/absence, the dissolution of architectural space and atmosphere. Both artists explored these notions through outdoor works in the Eramboo bushland as well as a range of process works in the gallery.

The Shape Of Air exhibition installation

Concepts introduced by Monika Bakke’s book ‘The Life of Air’ were explored, including thinking of air as a crowded perpetual motion component of place and as a dynamic habitat we share through the action of breathing with plants, animals (birds and insects) and microbial life. The works respond to the site by installation placement, using materials collected from it or by engaging with  the unique and special characteristics of Eramboo as a place on the urban fringe, surrounded by wild bushland.  The spatial intersections ultimately aim to investigate our dynamic relationship with the landscape; as a space where our bodies merge constantly with the environment.

The Shape Of Air exhibition installation
Suzanne Davey, Tangled, fabric, sticks, resin,
wax, wire, 110 x 250 x 10cm
Suzanne Davey, Tangled, (detail), fabric, sticks, resin,
wax, wire, 110 x 250 x 10cm
Ainslie Murray, The Liquid Air (Prototype),
aluminium, acrylic, sand, dimensions variable
Artist talk, The Shape of Air, Ainslie Murray, The Liquid Air (Prototype),
aluminium, acrylic, sand, dimensions variable

Suzanne Davey, Configuring Wonder, installation detail,
fabric, bamboo, sticks, 300 x 500 x 800cm
Suzanne Davey, Configuring Wonder, installation view with
Eramboo gallery, fabric, bamboo, sticks, 300 x 500 x 800cm

Suzanne Davey, Zest (maquette), twigs, grasses, wire, 50 x 90 x 40cm

Suzanne Davey, In Between, fabric, sticks, stone,
rope, tent pegs, 200 x 300 x 550cm

Suzanne Davey, In Between, fabric, sticks, stone,
rope, tent pegs, 200 x 300 x 550cm


Suzanne Davey, On the Edge, bamboo, fishing line,
 wire, paint, 80 x 180 x 450cm

Bitter Pills: in situ 13

Suzanne Davey, Bitter Pills, ceramic, sticks, metal, plastic,
 fabric, stones, paint, cardboard, 270 x 180 x 50cm 

Bitter Pills was an installation created for the Mosman Festival Of Sculpture and Installation, in situ 13. Organised by the Mosman Art Gallery and curated by Cassandra Hard Lawrie the exhibition started at the gallery and then trailed through Mosman’s shopping and cafe precinct. It featured 50 works by Australia’s leading sculptors and installation artists. The work featured in the shopfront of the Harmony Pharmacy, Military Road, Mosman


Bitter Pills is a response to the notion of harmony and dis-harmony. Harmony Pharmacy dispenses conventional pharmacy medicines as well as natural and complementary medicine. It practices an integrative approach to health, including body, mind and spirit. In Bitter Pills nature is transformed and re-configured by the application of various pressures (squashing, twisting, squeezing), and the results encapsulated in plastic pill casings. The work reflects our everyday experiences of stresses and strains, and the sometimes catastrophic results to our fragile health when things get out of balance.

Ceramic detail
Detail of sculptures prior to creating the installation



On the Way to Ithaca: HIDDEN Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Walk 2013

Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca, fabric, steel, bamboo, 320 x 350 x 750cm


On the Way to Ithaca was created for the fifth HIDDEN Rookwood Sculpture Walk held at the Rookwood Cemetery; the largest working cemetery in the southern hemisphere. The exhibition was curated by Cassandra Hard Lawrie. 40 selected artists responded to themes appropriate to the site such as life, love, death, loss, memory and mortality as well as the culture around memorial, eulogy, burial and ceremony.  


Have Ithaca always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years……..

Constantine P Cavafy

However long our life may be our journey is punctuated by many beginnings and ends. These moments are marked in funerary architecture and memorial landscaping by gates, arches and avenues. On the Way to Ithaca is an ethereal response to these forms as we travel between our first and last breaths; our lives shaped by our ties and connections to one another. The installation aims to explore the tension between life and death, and the fragility of life, as we journey towards Ithaca.
Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca, installation detail

Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca

Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca, installation detail
Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca

Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca, installation view from the All Souls Chapel

Suzanne Davey, On the Way to Ithaca proposal drawing

On the Way to Ithaca, developing the work in studio

On the Way to Ithaca, installation on site

Wind Songs: Art In Odd Places

WIND SONGS is a public art project created by Suzanne Davey, Christina Frank and Lisa Marshall for Art in Odd Places Australia 2013 exhibited 14-15 September Dee Why Beach, 
21-22 September Manly.

WIND SONGS is a dynamic, colourful installation that uses an everyday object, the humble umbrella, and transforms it from the ordinary into the extraordinary. A mass of umbrellas have been de-constructed and re-configured in new and surprising ways. The ‘fly away’ work responds directly to the elemental landscape of Manly and Dee Why. Floating in the sea breeze it sings songs about fragility, struggles and the power of transformation.

ART IN ODD PLACES is an arts project exploring public space founded and directed by New York artist Ed Woodham. Three American and 25 Australian artists explore the many meanings of the theme, Number. From synchronised swimming, performance, sculpture, installation each artist has responded to the notion of Number in individual ways. The project was a collaboration between Manly Council, Warringah Council and Eramboo Artist Environment.

Wind Songs Dee Why Beach

Wind Songs Dee Why

Wind Songs Manly Espalanade, aquarium

Wind Songs Manly 

Project Rationale: Umbrellas are utilitarian objects charged with memories and a myriad of metaphorical possibilities. Nostalgia for summer holidays at the beach, fresh sea breezes, life saving flags, experiences of wild storms, rain and wind and our basic human need for shelter and protection are all evoked by the humble umbrella.
Umbrellas are also delicate and fragile objects. In strong winds umbrellas have a tendency to ‘fly away’ and de-construct. On windy days at the beach runaway umbrellas cartwheel dangerously across the sand. On wild wet days locations such as the Manly Corso are littered with discarded rain umbrellas, sad and forlorn, inside out and broken.
The installation is a large colourful, geometric canopy/banner/structure constructed from found and collected umbrellas and arranged together in a tessellated pattern. The installation responds directly to sea breezes, creates bold shadows patterns on surfaces and creatively expresses the umbrella’stendency to ‘fly away’ in response to wind. Through its dynamic composition, its re-construction and final transformation of multiple umbrellas into a new form Wind Songscan remind the viewer of…….
  • the fragility of life
  • being in the moment, the brevity of life
  • everyday struggles: weathering storms, the whirl of life, the risk of the things we depend on de-constructing and flying away.
  • transformation and re-ordering eg: moving through major personal changes or crises
  • memories and nostalgia for summer holidays, childhood, beach days

Wind Songs project proposal drawing

On the Edge: Coal Loader Waverton

bamboo, fishing line, paint, fabric, 70 cm h x 450cm l x 180cm w
On the Edge is an ephemeral kinetic installation exploring balance and counterbalance in the elemental landscape; the ebb and flow of tides, bobbing boats and floating buoys, and the waft of sea breezes. Inspired by the movement of cranes, it responds to the Coal Loader as a site that seeks equilibrium between its industrial heritage, community usage and as a delicate ecosystem on the edge of the harbour.

A site responsive work exhibited at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton for The North Sydney Art Prize: toward 2020 exhibition 27 July – 5 August 2013