Artist Biography:

Isabella Molineaux is an emerging young artist who holds a keen interest in creating art from recycled or repurposed objects and materials which are common to our everyday life. Her work often features flowers, figures and bright colours. She enjoys exploring how different textures can be created through her use of expressive brushstrokes or by working with the natural texture of materials such as flaking metal and the fine detail of lace.

Isabella is currently studying a Masters of Secondary Teaching at Charles Sturt University to become a high school visual arts teacher, having previously completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship at the Australian National University. During her studies her love for art theory and artmaking have been further enhanced.

Artist Statement:

Many people would expect that the life of the Prime Minister and their wife would be filled with luxuries and splendor. However, Ben and Elizabeth Chifley lived a rather modest and simple life in their single terraced home in 10 Busby Street, Bathurst.

The Chifley’s home stands as a perfect example of how people who lived through the two world wars and the Great Depression learned to make do with what they had and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Elizabeth Chifley was the daughter of the considerably wealthy Isabella and George McKenzie and Ben Chifley held a stable job but somewhat ordinary job as a railway engine-driver. However later he was to become the Prime Minister of Australia. Even with their newfound financial situation and status in the community both continued to live a relatively modest lifestyle. The single terraced home in Busby Street was a wedding gift given to the Chifley’s from Elizabeth’s parents, which remained the Chifley’s home for the rest of their lives.

My artwork celebrates the frugal and practical characters of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley while incorporating elements of their skills and hobbies. Elizabeth is depicted alone in her garden amongst flowers in full bloom. Both the Chifley’s loved gardening, yet Ben’s work commitments meant he was often away and did not have time to indulge in this favourite hobby of his. Elizabeth stands confidently and happy by herself in her garden. It was said she always felt more comfortable in her unpretentious home rather than spending time at The Lodge in Canberra- a place she did not feel at ease with. The work is painted with a combination of tea, coffee and dyes made from recycled food scraps on a plain calico fabric. The common domestic materials used to create this work reflects the Chifley’s prudent and thrifty attitudes towards their household furnishings and personal spending. Doilies have been sewn onto Elizabeth’s clothing to emphasise her skills in sewing, crocheting and mending clothes. Doilies are prominent in the Chifley home as Elizabeth and her mother would hand crotchet these decorative mats to protect their furniture from scratches and spills. The doilies purpose and relationship to the garden are apparent as its floral motifs make up part of the garden scene.

Mrs Chifley Admiring Her Roses, beetroot juice, natural dye made from purple cabbage, mustard, coffee, tea, ink and recycled doilies on unbleached calico, 2018, 90 x 140 cm.

Mrs Chifley Admiring Her Roses