Shannon Murphy

Home Bitter Sweet Home

22 August - 14 September 2013

Home Bitter Sweet Home is an amalgamation of experimental sculptural pieces which examine avian and caliological themes of home, flight, migration and freedom.  The show highlights the Nest Series that explores Shannon Murphy’s ongoing search for a sense of space, place and belonging amidst the economic, agrarian and socio-political milieu of Zimbabwe in recent years.


The process of making the nests embodies a performative materiality, made over time and left in situ in the different places that Murphy has visited locally and abroad.   The nests have been uprooted and placed as artefacts for exhibition, displaying signs of erosion, weathering and damage that gestures toward an unwelcoming and inhospitable environment and Murphy’s elusive endeavour to create a place to call home.


In Home Bitter Sweet Home, Shannon Murphy reveals the lived experience of youth in our society and an experimental personal practice that incorporates a myriad of approaches and materials.  Intricately woven within each nest are pivotal moments in Murphy’s life, such as First Love Nest, Settle Down Snare and Your Body is your Temple that question domesticity, entrapment, nurture, security and refuge using materials ranging from his shirt and her skirt to barbed and recycled wire.  The nests delve into playful social commentary and elicit many metaphorical connections inherent in the use of found materials such as Waiting for Electricity made from copper wire and electrical cables and Tyred Home made from burnt tyre wire.


Home Bitter Sweet Home reflects a domestic state of affairs on both personal and national levels, extending internationally to the diaspora.  The exhibition is particularly relevant to many Zimbabweans, at home and abroad, as their connection and relationship to both their residential homes and home country remains bitter sweet in the light of global economic and socio-political instability and uncertainty.



Shannon Murphy, aka NYAMI, (1987) was born and educated in Zimbabwe.  In 2006 she left to study a Visual Arts Diploma in Brisbane, Australia.  She is a mixed media artist who explores various materials such as paint, clay, wood, metal, found objects, photographs and drawing tools.  Murphy has exhibited in two solo shows in Brisbane and participated in several group shows in Brisbane and Harare.  In 2007, she received the Fusions Conceptual Art award in Australia, and has carried out several public art commissions.



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Your body is your temple

2013 Pine & vine 35 x 45 x 100 cm Photo © Shannon Murphy