Susanna Strati references funereal ritual, Catholic religious performance and  devotional objects as a framework for creating new work. The material  dimension of her practice extends declining traditional Southern Italian  mourning customs through objects, expressing the spirit of lamentation,  ritual, and commemorative-performative space away from their original  contexts. Her objects combined with gesture, function to mediate  sentiment, register emotion, and explore identity.

Strati  lives and works in Sydney, her contemporary art practice integrates sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance. She is an Alumna of UNSW Art &  Design and recipient of awards and residencies, including an Australia  Council Residency at the British School at Rome, an Australia Council  research grant for independent study in central and southern Italy, and  an Australian Post Graduate Award for research. Strati’s work has been  exhibited nationally and internationally, as well as selected as  Finalist in the inaugural Paramor Prize: ART + INNOVATION (where she was  Winner of the Mayoral Award),  Hidden Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture  Walk  (2012, 2014, 2015), The Blake Prize (2008, 2013), The David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award (Contemporary Art Sculpture 2017), Fishers  Ghost Art Award (2008. 2017), Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2012,  2013, 2016), The Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award  (2018) and The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize (2018). Her work  has been exhibited at galleries such as The British School at Rome  Gallery, Object Australian Design Centre, The Macleay Museum, Annandale  Galleries, May Space (Brenda May Gallery), Stanley Street Gallery and  Mop Projects in Sydney. Her Jewellery focuses the locket.

Susanna Strati Body bier, constructed from communion wafers and series of copper ribs


Susanna Strati Threadwork, memorialising Italian dowry tradition


Susanna Strati In Needlework #2, I use a series of repeated gestures, pins, lead and graphite to explore my grandmother's expression of grief for the loss of my grandfather. In her heartbreak, she made hundreds of dresses from the same pattern – immersing herself in a daily and meditative ritual. She materialised her sadness by driving a treadle Singer sewing machine, and making the same dress over and over again.

To begin the work, I mimic my grandmother's actions – however, sewing through stacks of paper – and perforating each sheet to take thousands of individual steel sewing pins. I use my inherited sewing pins to start the work. My practice is structured – focusing each gesture – hand movement, to communicate sadness. Needlework #2 is fabricated from acrylic, paper, interfacing, lead and silk – heavy and pierced with steel. Its cubic container-like form is used as a metaphor for the body, pain, and sorrow.

Needlework + Breath

Wreath by Susanna Strati, durational commemorative performative installation. Constructed from individual copper stems piercing communion wafers and discs cut from rubbings taken from the cemetery


Susanna Strati Crying House

Crying House

Susanna Strati Votive Hearts

Susanna Strati Votive Gestures