Nellie Howden

May Cube Installation

Stripped to the bones

This artwork focuses on the domestic space in which I, my son Wil and our dog Ned find ourselves; in some way it may be percieved as an absurd and satirical homage.

Wil Otis, 2009
approximately 80cm x 40cm

My art practise is both technically and conceptually eclectic.

I am inspired to experience and exploit relevant mediums that will inform my work.
Being an installation based artist I am consciously aware of the importance of space throughout my creative process.
More often than not my practise is influenced by my current experiences(s) that lends ‘itself’ to having satirical aspects.
Presently I find myself existing in a very domestic space with my young son Wil. The execution of my work is often governed by my conscious efforts to deter little keen and inquisitive prying hands!
Obviously Wil is the major source of inspiration and I am exploring the notion of motherhood. I am attempting to objectively define and visually translate our relationship to the audience. To depict the numerous and at times surreal physical and emotional expressions that this journey presents.

Group Exhibitions
Palimsest #9-  fringe component, T.A.F.E, Mildura. April, 2009
Palimpsest#6- Mildura Art Gallery, Mildura. August 2006
Postcard Exhibition- Linden Gallery, Melbourne.  February 2006
Urban Images- 26 Deakin Avenue, Mildura.  March 2005
Chairs- Mildura Art Gallery, Mildura. August 2003
Palimpsest#5- Mildura Showgrounds pavilion, Mildura. April 2003
She- the spirit of life- Dandenong Community Arts centre, Dandenong. March 2003
Fresh- final year folio exhibition. La Trobe University, Mildura. November 2001
Agenda- second year exhibition. La Trobe University, Mildura. November 2000
Ado- Sunraysia Institute of T.A.F.E. (Visual Arts), Mildura. November 1999
Big Skies- Sunraysia Institute of T.A.F.E. (Visual Arts), Mildura. November 1998
Riposte- Sunraysia Institute of T.A.F.E (Visual Arts), Mildura. July 1998
Solo Exhibitions
Palimpsest # 4- I see quiet red… Merbein. April 2000
Colin Barrie Acquisitive Award 2001
Certificate 1V in TAA
Sunraysia Institute of Technical and Further Education 2011

Participated in BRACE- N.E.I.S (EducationTraining Employment-Certificate 1V in Business Management) 2009-2010

Certificate of Appreciation- Migrant Home Tutoring Scheme
Sunraysia Institute of Further Technologty 2008

Bachelor of  Visual Arts
Latrobe University 2001

Diploma of Arts (Visual Arts)
Sunraysia Institute of Technical and Further Education 2000

Diploma of Community Services
Sunraysia Institute of Technical and Further Education 1998

Advanced Certificate in Residential and Community Services (Intellectual Disability)
Sunraysia Institute of Technical and Further Education  1998

Advanced Certificate in Residential and Community Services (Youth and Childcare)
Sunraysia College of Technical and Further Education 1992


My brother Andrew suddenly passed away on July 12, 2012.  He was 48 years old and is succeeded by his wife Darlene and their two delightful young men, Deklan and Kaide.
The elements encompassed in this work are consciously symbolic.

  • The work positions on a circle of carpet.  The carpet it’s self is to symbolise the home - the domestic space where we grew up in Nichols Point.  I chose the colour green to represent the vines that  grew  on our block.
  • The circle of red loam is to symbolise earth to where we return.
  • The condensed version of the rosary beads (with Mary) demonstrates my mother’s unwavering faith in her religious conviction which I have no doubt will help her through losing not one, but two, children in her life time.
  • The red necklace was my Aunty Marg’s who lived in Maryborough where both my parents came from.  It represents not only the wonderful holidays we spent visiting family, but also signifies the umbilical cord; a connection of blood ties.
  • The fish bones and lure are symbolic of Drew’s love of fishing and the Murray River. The bones are somewhat ‘tongue in cheek’ as they are carp bones.  Drew would definitely not appreciate having caught a carp!
  • The strip of a Richmond “Sherrin” is a testament to Drew’s love of his footy team.
  • The button and sewing pin are literal comments about the role a mother can take in her darning, mending, cooking and cleaning etc. It also trying to express that interwoven into these garments is an invisible thread of a mother’s love.
  • The witch’s hat sticker was kindly provided by my son Wil who is four years old. He  has a very concrete and innocent understanding of death. (Surrounding the funeral and celebration of Drew’s life Wil just thought it was one big party!).
Wil’s contribution is also an emblem of the loss for all of Drew’s nieces nephews.
  • The central focus of broken or cracked eggs represents a number of aspects.  Obviously they are a symbol of life. Drew’s love of his chooks and Bantams,  the outdoors. With them being broken they attest to the fact of a life lost.
  • The pumpkin seeds splayed around the circle are a symbol of Drew’s love of the outdoors and his vegie patch and fruit trees.
  • The sunflower seeds dispersed amidst the pumpkin seeds are those which were offered to people at Drew’s service.  Ours are just starting to sprout and Wil knows it as ‘Uncle Andrew’s garden’.

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