Forgotten Names


From the 1st to the 20th of November 2017

the Serpentine Community Gallery will be the venue for

"Forgotten Names"

- an exhibition of Paintings and Monotypes

by Robyn Staines.

Robyn’s work ponders on the forgotten parts

of our ancestry that were hidden in shame.

This is an untold story that acknowledges

all those who were forgotten,

labelled disabled or lunatic.

Children and adults with disabilities

and mental health issues were discarded

and left to rot in asylums and institutions.

This exhibition is an attempt at atonement

for those discarded in our historical records.

You are welcome to join us

for a combined opening celebration

together with Kerry Negus's solo show

"Soul of the Soil"

on Friday the 3rd of November at 6pm.

Artist Statement - Forgotten Names

My son Koashal moved out of home last year. The grief I felt was enormous.

I made huge amounts pf work, as an outpouring of guilt and regret that life was not more "perfect",

that there were aspects of life I had no control over; to heal or make better.

My mother told me stories from when she was young;

a woman living in her street had twins with Downs Syndrome,

they were locked in the car all way as a way of coping.

Another woman with five children was told to give her youngest away by her husband,

her youngest was also Downs Syndrome.

If she didn't, he would leave her and she would be left feeding the lot, with no welfare.

I often wonder what happened to these children. I have spent hours searching long lists of asylum records

in case one of my ancestors had not been remembered or recorded. A child like mine.

What happened to these children? What happened to the adults with mental health issues or disabilities?

There seems to be very little recorded if any. Their burials and deaths are almost impossible to find.

I wonder what it's like to be forgotten.

I worked in an institution when I was quite young.

Some of these pictures are about those I remember in detail.

Most had no contact with family.

Some of these pictures are of people I have found in records, whose families I cannot find.

- Robyn Staines, October 2017

'Mary-Anne Staines'

oil on canvas

Tarban Lunatic Asylum*

- list of patients admitted in March 1856

* Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum, later to become known as Gladesville Mental Hospital,

was a psychiatric hospital established in 1838 in the suburb of Gladesville, Sydney, NSW.

The hospital official closed in 1993, with the last in-patient services ceased in 1997.














ink and watercolour on handmade paper


ink and watercolour