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"Return to the Beginning" 2013

Wall text

Wall text

Raquel Ormella 
Born 1969, Gadigal Country/Sydney, NSW.

Lives and works Gadigal Country/Sydney, NSW.

Pronouns: she/her.

"Return to the Beginning" 2013


Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2014.


Raquel Ormella’s Return to the Beginning consists of two deconstructed nylon Australian flags. The artist remakes these symbols of settler-Australian nationhood, instilling the new material with reflective, hopeful humour. Ormella meditates on the fragility of national identities formed under colonialism, suggesting the potential for alternative beginnings. 


In each flag, the Union Jack has been removed, its presence reduced to flickers of red. The smaller flag bears no Commonwealth Star, nor Southern Cross constellation; only the words ‘RETURN TO THE BEGINNING’ are cut from the deep blue fabric. The larger flag has had each star excised from its original context, now cascading from the thin border among twenty-six newly constructed stars. Within each letter and star, Ormella has burnt tiny, repetitive holes in the nylon, rebelliously poking at the synthetic fabric of settler-colonial nationhood. 


Through this careful act of unravelling, burning, and dissecting, Ormella dismantles the flag as a symbol of colonial occupation and governance. What lingers is an empty space charged with possibilities.  


Audio text to come soon

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