Marriage: Love and Law exhibition catalogue - Page 133

Artist Freya Jobbins was
commissioned by NSW State
Archives to create a new work for
Marriage: Love and Law. Her work,
Party 1 and Party 2, responds to the
changes that have taken place in
how marriage has been understood
in Australia.
Once, when couples applied for an Australian marriage
licence, they were required to enter names under ‘Bride’ and
‘Bridegroom’. Today couples are recorded simply as ‘Party 1’
and ‘Party 2’. In 200 years our definition of marriage has
continually shifted, such that our laws now reflect our ability
to accommodate a more diverse and loving society.
This work celebrates definitional evolution, but more importantly the social
changes it brought about. This assemblage is in the form of a traditional
wedding cake. The base characterises the 19th Century, when only marriages
made in the Church of England were legally valid and white, heterosexual
couples were almost without exception. There were some exceptions,
such as Aboriginal woman Maria Lock whose husband was an assigned
convict. During this time the minimum legal age for women to marry was
as low as 12 years old.
The second tier represents the 20th Century (to 1997). During this time
marriage rights were extended to all heterosexual couples, regardless of race
and religion. The third tier represents 1997 to 2017. After a gruelling battle,
Tasmanian LGBTI+ activists successfully forced their state government
to decriminalise consensual homosexual activity (May 1997), finally signalling
the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Australia. During this time
homosexual couples remained without the right to marry.
The uppermost tier represents today, following the 2017 Marriage Act
amendments and celebrates the right for everyone to legally marry in Australia.
I hope that from across a room the viewer will be unable to see the distinctions
of the dolls. Rather they see one mass of people, a unified nation celebrating
and exercising their right to marry. Upon closer inspection the sex and race
of the dolls become clear, and invite the viewer to examine the social context
of each era of marriage in Australia.

95 Freya Jobbins
Party 1 and Party 2
Plastic assemblage
Commissioned by
NSW State Archives


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