Letters from Syria

An Elephant in the Room

An Elephant in the Room

Interdisciplinary artist Chris Clifton explores the pervasive effects of colonisation in the thought-provoking exhibition, ‘An Elephant in the Room, opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in September.

British-Australian artist and printmaker Clifton’s work was influenced by a 1936 George Orwell’s essay – Shooting an Elephant, in which Orwell wrote about his experience in British-occupied Burma. ‘An Elephant in the Room’ reflects on Orwell’s critique of the dominating influence of colonialism on the colonised and the colonisers. 

Clifton uses print-media, embroidery and collage to explore their ‘shameful’ British heritage. They also investigate the legacy of colonial-era borders and their impact on our current social and political fabric.  

The artist seeks to understand the complexities of their own white, ‘male’, British ancestry, alongside the ongoing British/colonial beautification of history. They represent how the British, specifically, and the west more broadly, engage in a gentrification of memory. To highlight this cultural amnesia, Clifton engages in acts of erasure in his work to showcase the legacy of British colonisation of the world. 

Chris Clifton is a printmaker, photographer and emerging fibre artist, who lives and works on Awabakal land. They balance being a stay-at-home dad, a master’s student and an emerging artist. Combining a range of print and non-print mediums, they like to create works that explore the complex human-nature relationships, critical theories and the illusive ‘boundaries’ we create between ourselves, others, our history and the environment.

‘An Elephant in the Room’ exhibition opens on Thursday, 22 September. It runs from 21 September to 30 October 2022. 


20 Sep 2022 - 30 Oct 2022


10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Timeless Textiles Gallery


Timeless Textiles Gallery
90 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW, Australia