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Tradition Now - Exhibition - State Library of Queensland - 2016

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Family History Exhibition - Tradition Now - State Library of Queensland - 18 June - 30 November, 2016.

Curated by Naomi Takeifanga and Kevin Wilson, Signature Program, SLQ.

Float series, 2016. Glass cistern floats, copper, photograph, led light and mixed media

Simone's family heritage traces back maternally to Holland, including settlement in Indonesia, and paternally to Transylvania (with strong links to Germany and Hungary), Denmark and Ireland. All of her forbears journeyed by sea to come to Queensland from places suffering from war or other hardship. Many settled in regional Queensland - Charters Towers, Innisfail and Townsville, whilst others made Brisbane home. The careers of family members ranged from farmers, chemists, veterinarians, doctors, to engineers, inventors, performers, poets and businessmen. Simone's deep interest in family history stemmed from the challenge of understanding the journey of her father's father, Albert John Eisler, who came to Australia from Europe in 1926 to join older brother Joseph who had arrived in 1909 and set up a plumbing business. He registered numerous patents including the glass cistern float in the late 1930's. Albert died in 1945, when Simone's father was only 4 months old. Albert's wife Cecilia was heartbroken. It was only after her death in 1981 did the family discover a stash of letters, many unopened, from Albert's brothers and sisters - from Romania, Hungary and the United States after the first and second world wars. The letters piqued Simone's parents' interest and they journeyed twice to Romania during the reign of the Communist dictator Ceausescu to find out more about the family, only to be followed by secret police, one of whom turned out to be a relative. Simone likewise has journeyed twice to Romania in recent years. There are many stories to be had in families with such a rich and diverse heritage but for Simone the fascination with Albert and Cecilia revolves around the combination of their creative/inventive and theatrical/artistic talents and how it relates to her own artistic practice. Albert patented a number of plumbing items including the glass cistern float after arriving in Brisbane, whilst Cecilia performed at the Princess Theatre and wrote a column for the Courier Mail. Albert Eisler established the Syphonia company in Brisbane and ran a plumbing business called Master Plumbers in Woolloongabba. With Float, her work in Tradition Now, Eisler directly references the ‘making' history in the family but also how families grow organically and the inability of display/containment methodologies to fully capture the full stories of family history.