Masters student Shana James is presenting her version of Alice in Wonderful at Spectrum Gallery at Mt Lawley ECU.

Artwork: Shana James. Image: Ruby Hall.

As a child Shana fell in love with the tale of Alice and Wonderland. Her and her sister grew up listening to the story on a vinyl record so often they could recite sections of it.

Later in life she began reading the original book by Lewis Carroll to her daughter, which is when she discovered the true essence of the story.

“At that point I went, this story has got so much more depth than what I realised as a child,” Shana said.

To her the story of Alice and Wonderland is about self-actualisation which is something she identifies in her own art.

“When I started studying I realised all of the work I have ever made is about self-actualisation, so it fits together really nicely.”

Down the Rabbit Hole is Shana’s 10th solo exhibition and marks the end of her Masters at ECU.

It is also the first time she has exhibited an animated drawing, which she has projected onto a blank wall. “I like the idea that the animation moves everything in the stream of consciousness,” she said.

“While I was making it you get so focused on what you’re doing and then the ideas just start to unfold, it takes you to places you couldn’t of pre-planned.”

Shana used charcoal and pastel to draw Alice falling on long pieces of organza which she has hung from the gallery ceiling. She said she wanted it to be transparent, so you could see through one layer to the next.

“I said to the University, I need about four metres of wall space to finish this.”

While Shana was drawing Alice on the organza she noticed she had gotten charcoal onto the wall which gave her the idea of a black and white checkered floor.

“As I was drawing I put paper behind so I didn’t transfer the charcoal onto the wall, in some places I had gone over the edge and had drawn on the wall and thought this charcoal looks great on the wall and that’s what gave me the idea of doing it.”

“That wasn’t a part of my original intention,” she said.

Shana recognises the story of Alice and Wonderland as a metaphor for life.

“In a way it’s like this book is a dictionary of symbols that I can draw from,” she said.

Down the Rabbit Hole is on at ECU in the Spectrum Gallery until the 5th of March.

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