I want to write that it’s been a month since Maidens Sans Frontiers closed, but it’s actually only been three weeks since our final event with cosplayer TaeYeon Kim and WCS Australia.
Bringing Maidens to Hobart was not only a calculated decision to bring Japan Foundation Funding to regional Australia, but also something of a homecoming for me as it coincided with my return to University of Tasmania as an academic.
Much of what is on display is personal to Lucy, Megan, and me: Lucy’s books. Megan’s dolls. The postcards that have lined my walls since 2013 – the postcards that ironically are still in a box in the corner of my new office as I haven’t had the time or the energy to put them up.
Where the Duhig Tower exhibition had three video screens that we could screen cosplay images and fashion films, the Morris Miller exhibition had space for mannequins which allowed us to display the Rose of Versailles costumes for the whole exhibition. I was also able to draw on the local lolita community to display a frilly sweet out fit from Angelic Pretty and a dark gothy outfit from Alice and the Pirates.
I also love the contrast of the two display spaces – Duhig Tower with it’s dark, sandstone walls and it’s links to an imagined Europe; Morris Miller with it’s bright, open fouyer that was updated in 2005 to create a retro futuristic space from the 1960s brutalist design so common on the campuses of Australasian universities.
The thing I am most pleased about this exhibition was that I was allowed to pull a number of books from the library shelves to have on display – a mix of girl studies critique, novels, and shojo manga studies. A display that was quickly dismantled by guests at the opening and by students borrowing books over the coming weeks.
Books?! In a library?! Who would have ever thought it possible