One of Australia’s most significant visual artists, Fiona Foley has a heroic ability to communicate powerful ideas and concepts through elegant, understated and sometimes humorous artistic expressions. Born in 1964, Fiona has lived in Sydney and Brisbane but now works and lives in her home town Hervey Bay. In her final year at Sydney’s College of Fine Arts, a sculpture of Fiona’s Annihilation of the Blacks (1986) was acquired by the National Museum of Australia. Since then, Fiona’s works have been regularly collected by art museums around Australia and the world such as the British Museum and the National Gallery of Australia, as well as corporate and private collections.
Signpost 11 continues Fiona Foley’s study of European presence on Fraser Island. This is a work charged with irony. Inscribed across the sweep of beach using second-hand clothes are the words ‘white trash’. The status of the clothes brings both a literal meaning of trash—abandoned, dumped, and a derogative slang meaning of people with little education, or sophistication. Sand mining and the ensuing environmental damage are instances where ‘white trash’ might readily be applied. And like graffiti in the built environment, the words hover.