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She absorbed and endured an infinity of small rebuffs

  • Soma - Brunswick 421 Sydney Road Brunswick, VIC, 3056 Australia (map)

She absorbed and endured an infinity of small rebuffs is an exhibition by Melbourne-based artists Amelia Dowling and Helani Laisk opening Friday 17 November at 6pm. 

The exhibition presents the idea of women at work: working, working out, working it out. Amelia Dowling and Helani Laisk exhibit a combination of textiles, photography, painting, installation, performance and audio-visual work to express their experiences and interpretations of female physical and emotional endurance.

A quote taken from Helen Garner’s 1977 novel Monkey Grip, the exhibition title describes a female character’s stamina in the face of life's everyday challenges: the friction between and emotional turbulence as a result of relationships constantly in flux, repetitious and reflexive emotional habits, and ingrained sexism, all the while living as part of, and moving through the fabric of Melbourne city.

The artists’ distinct methods and styles create an energetic dynamic. Their joint explorations of body politics recontextualise gendered spaces, materials and activities, and disrupt expectations and associations of original purpose, function and design. Domestic habits, rituals and objects are used to explore the cultural expectations of women to perform, and the systemic societal assumptions of female labour that are driven by hidden and intangible forces. Works serve a multitude of roles - emotional armour, 'active wear', a uniform; a show and celebration of strength and vulnerability.

Soma - Brunswick is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 5:00pm. For more information contact Amelia Dowling at or call 0402761584


Image credits: (left) Helani Laisk, Act I, 2017, acrylic and spray enamel on canvas, site specific, 20 x 15cm.(right) Amelia Dowling, A dull an unrelenting ache, vintage girdle with suspender belt clips, cotton, elastane, plastic, rayon and cotton thread, plastic beads, 38 x 43cm

Earlier Event: October 22
Elevation by Wendy Jagger