22 Temenggong Road, Twilight | Justin Hill

The subject is my house, where I lived through my 30s and 40s. The house dates from about 1920 and its open verandas were sheathed in black and white chick blinds, often used in older tropical houses to keep out the rain, to provide privacy, and for me to moderate internal light.

The scene is early one evening, taken from an adjusted photograph looking from the garden into my house, when the luminous blue of the short tropical twilight briefly equalises with the light within the house. Only then is the interior of the house revealed through layers of fraying blinds, window mesh, as the layers in the timber framing and walls of the house become visible.

This reminded me of stage designs I have done over the years, for example following an anticipatory opening overture, when house lights fade, and a previously invisible scene on the stage emerges from behind painted gauzes as the stage lights come up and the gauzes seem to magically dissolve. It’s an old trick of the trade and always beautiful.

In this piece of architectural theatre, a friend is about to arrive for dinner. Within the house is the silhouette of my mother and I, looking out, [taken from another picture where we were making pavlovas in my home in Tasmania recently], getting ready while the music plays. This is a memory of many evenings and the visits of friends and family over those decades to my home.

The window frames the mise-en-scène, proscenium like, while the sagging roof tiles above and the peeling painted wall below give context to the deteriorating house. 

Ideally the piece could be the size of the actual window [3.525 m long]. Of interest to me is the slight impressionistic blurring of the scene brought about by the layer of the blinds, and the many blues in this piece bring luminosity and depth.