Artist Biography

Gabriella is the youngest of twelve siblings and grew up frequently relocating along the east coast of Australia, experiencing many different schools and locations between Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Gabriella has now settled on the Gold Coast and is completing a Bachelor of Arts/Education (Secondary) at Southern Cross University with a major in English and minor in Visual Arts. Gabriella’s interest in Visual Arts developed at a young age and was often a source of happiness, consistency and self-confidence throughout an otherwise unusual upbringing.

After finishing high school in 2005, Gabriella began working as an Early Childhood Assistant and this is where she realised her passion for working with children and education. After working full time for several years, Gabriella decided to take her passion for education to the next level. She felt she could utilise her own experiences during her school years to connect to and understand the many different contexts and needs of students, deciding she could best support students in the secondary years. In 2016, Gabriella enrolled as a mature age student to pursue a secondary teaching career, with a focus on her areas of special interest; English and Visual Arts.

Gabriella’s career in Visual Arts in only beginning and she is still working toward her Visual Art minor, currently completing her first year of studio art and art theory studies. She hopes to one day pursue post graduate study and build her Visual Arts discipline area into a teaching major.

Artist Statement

The concept for this work was inspired by Elizabeth Chifley’s recipes which are included on the Chifley Home Museum website. This work engages with Australian cultural history and the political context of Chifley Home by considering how immigration has engendered cultural and ethnic diversity over time. This connects with my own familial history as a third generation Italian Australian.

By using the form of an unworn apron, ‘The Bites that Bind Us’ seeks to personify unlimited narratives and histories, without connecting to a singular identity. Recipe keeping has long been a cultural practice and a means of connection between generations. The sculpture is made from folded and weaved pages of The Australian Family Cookbook, 1980, collated by Ellen Sinclair, former food editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly. This material choice is important to the work in both its historical and conceptual significance. Conceptually, ‘The Bites that Bind Us’ explores recipes as ways of connecting and remembering people, places and times. Historically however, the work exemplifies limitation in terms of gender, heritage and displacement.

Close inspection of the woven pages reveals recipes which stem from different times and places, but also reveals the absence of histories and narratives which are excluded from its pages. By weaving the recipe pages together, I have aimed to illustrate how personal and collective histories are made through the interweaving of narratives, cultures, families and cuisines. This work hopes to mirror aspects of contemporary Australian society, illustrating the connections we all share.

Artist: Gabriella Guastella
Year: 2019
Title: The Bites that Bind Us
Materials: Paper and textiles

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