8 May – 1 June 2024

As the Black Summer fires raged in the Blue Mountains, artist Margarita Sampson, grounded herself in the present, breath by breath. In response to this visceral experience, she created these dramatic textile works that transfigure landscapes into beings, caught between crisis and action.

Made using salvaged and handmade textiles, knotted videotape, plastics and beading, these forms evoke the shimmering surfaces left by in the wake of bushfires, the blackened twigs, embers and soot. Within each one, glowing quilted satin evokes the embers of slow-burning logs, but also a womb, a coffin, a cradle. The artist sees these interior spaces as places of refuge, regrowth and transformation.

The deep, dark carpets under and near the sculptural works suggest animal hides, soft but singed. They evoke both a domestic space and the earth: a place of disturbance and rupture but also comfort.

The patchwork wall curtain is constructed from recycled clothing. At once tattered and heraldic, it suggests an interior space, a tent wall between us and the boundless.

Margarita’s blackened but strangely animate landscapes create a space for questioning and reflection, inhabiting the mythic borderlands of sentience and deep time. She asks, “How as custodians and denizens of the hurting world, may we best proceed?”

In this 60th anniversary year, Australian Design Centre continues to contemplate such questions to explore how design and making is shaping the future of our planet. A New Earth extends Good Natured: design art architecture, the 2023 project produced by ADC, supported by Create NSW and toured through ADC On Tour.

About Margarita Sampson

Originally from Norfolk Island, Margarita divides her time between Blackheath, NSW and Norfolk. Her colourful, hybridised textile and sculptural works are inspired by natural systems and investigate sympathetic relationships between the human body and animal, fungal, vegetative or geological formations.

Margarita’s work often takes the form of meticulously hand-sewn textile constructions over welded forms, but she also explores the properties of steel, copper, wood, videotape and plastics.

Her work has been selected for the Wynne Prize (2013), Blake Prize (2015, 2022), Tamworth Textile Triennial (2019), 14 Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions and three Festivals of Pacific Arts. She won the Hillview Indoor Sculpture Award in 2018 and the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize (Object) in 2012. Her work is held in public and private collections.

A New Earth, 2023
textiles, wood, steel, videotape, found materials

Olympia, 2020
steel, textiles, altered furniture, carpet, found materials

Fireground, 2021
steel, textiles, videotape, altered furniture, carpet

Flag for a Black Summer, 2024
recycled textiles, found objects


Artist Exhibition Tour
Join Margarita on a special tour of the exhibition as she talks us through her experience, practice and the techniques used in these works. 

When: Thursday 9 May, 12:30-1pm
Where: Australian Design Centre
Tickets: Free, book here

Free Exhibition Tours
Make the most of your trip to the Australian Design Centre with a free exhibition tour. The gallery team will introduce you to the current exhibitions and Object Shop.

Tour times:
Thursdays, 12.30pm
Book here or call on us on 9361 4555 to make a booking or register at the front desk 10 minutes prior to tour time.