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Value in the household object

Monday, 13th May, 2019

Naomi Royds (left) with fellow artist Naomi Wild, holding on to her treasured object - her ring. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Naomi Royds (left) with fellow artist Naomi Wild, holding on to her treasured object - her ring. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Braidwood artist Naomi Royds is chatting to locals about their personal and emotional connection to certain household objects as part her research into her next body of work.

Naomi’s residency at the Broken Hill Art Exchange has had her conduct interviews to gain insight about why they value certain household items so much.

The project is called ‘TROVE - Domestic object as Repository of Memory’, and she said the objects people bring in can be anything.

“It can range from a coffee cup you use every morning to something that’s been passed down in your family,” said Naomi.

“It’s any object really, trinkets, kitchen utensils, spoons, all sorts of things that surround us every day in our homes.

“But I’m trying to get people to think about the objects that surround them on a daily basis and why they have them. 

“What is it about an object that means a lot to you? What are the emotions tied up in those very simple, ordinary objects?”

Naomi said the wanted to explore people’s fascination with mundane objects after exploring her favourite artist’s home.

“I did quite a bit of work on domestic objects and memory and it initiated when my favourite artist died,” she said.

“She didn’t have any children and so my mum and I had to sort all her stuff out in her townhouse in Sydney.

“She had so much stuff - little cupboards, glass cabinets with all these trinkets and all sorts of stuff everywhere.

“I thought it was great but I didn’t know any of the stories behind any of it and she’d never really told me.

“My mum knew some of the things, but there were so many little objects there. Well-loved things. 

“They’re all those precious things that you keep and surround yourself with at home and unless you tell that story to somebody, it just disappears.

“It doesn’t have to be some amazing history, it could just be that someone gave you a particular mug that you like drinking out of.”

Naomi said she’d already had some great encounters with locals.

“I have had a few people come in and it’s always really fascinating and interesting to hear their stories.

“A couple of people I interviewed yesterday suddenly had these revelations about their object.

“They went ‘whoa, I never actually thought about this. Now that we’re talking about it, it’s bringing up a whole lot of memories and I’m understanding why I’ve actually kept this, and why I haven’t ditched it and taken it to the tip or donated it.’

Naomi said a woman brought in some beautiful birthday cards from a century ago that her father had been given by his school teacher, and a man brought in a plastic-beaded bracelet he’d been given by his three-year-old niece. She said he took it with him everywhere. 

Naomi Royds will be in Broken Hill until Wednesday morning. If you have a valued object at home that you’d like to discuss, you can get in contact with her on 0407 422 022.

Naomi said the interview takes about half an hour and involves a quick photo with the object and a small form to sign, just in case she needs to clarify something. 

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