To Make Light


1 March – 25 March



2 March 5 – 7pm 

‘To make light’ is a time and space responsive installation of works created by Jenna Lee during her two-month residency with Kyoto Art Center supported by the Australia Council for the Arts. Spanning the duration of her stay and responding to the location’s history as a school, this exhibition blurs the line between installation and open studio.


The title ‘To make light’ is one translation of the Larrakia (Aboriginal) word balarr and references research undertaken during the residency on the relationships between kozo, paper and light, expressed in in the form of woven carrying vessels. These woven bags, widely known in Australia as dilly bags are a traditional Aboriginal basket used in everyday life, lore and ceremonies. Larrakia bags commonly have a ‘conical’ shape, one that shares characteristics of form with traditional Japanese lanterns like the ones made by hand by Kojima Shouten.


‘To make light’ also references the concept of ‘enlightenment’ as an outcome of research, experimentation, and learning. The show draws the connection between the sites history as a classroom and the importance of materials, cultural memory and time as valid and bountiful modes of process driven research.


During workshops, research and material investigation into paper, a commonality between the processing of kozo (paper mulberry) for the making of paper and the processing of dundil (bush peanut) was uncovered. Dundil is a bark fibre used by Larrakia people to make string and is striped and processed to a point in the same way as kozo. This led to the experimentation of combining traditional Aboriginal sting making (leg twisting) and Japanese paper cloth processes. The result has been two string making techniques which have been displayed on vintage Japanese silk bobbins and woven into a series of experimental dilly bags.


– expert from flyer ‘To make light, 2022, KYOTO ART CENTER residency exchange supported by Australia Council for the Arts


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