Sourcing found objects

Sandboxed (2017). Mixed media installation organised by Deborah Cain, with a Roller Derby performance by Roxanne Grant.
Materials: Sand, wooden box structure, small acrylic resin collage paintings on board; pile of second hand books; corroded metal pipes; messages-in-glass jars; pages from Alice in Wonderland; hourglass.

Off the Wall, Members Exhibition at the Arts and Cultural Development Council Geraldton (ACDC) Community Gallery, 9-25 February 2017. 189 Marine Terrace Geraldton WA 6530

Sandboxed: humorously plays with contained space, family, summer reading, and the arts & culture in Geraldton (city-as-place with its sand, the Indian Ocean, the wind, boats in the harbour, and people playing nicely in the sand pit).


With the power of words in mind, Edward Albee’s play The Sandbox and its absurd family dynamics, the outdoors, the exercising figure doing calisthenics (performed on 9 Feb by Roxanne Grant), Sandboxed presents ideas/questions of the healthy/unhealthy body: an individual, arts, community, or city. Reflections on Tim Winton and the happenstance of book titles found in Marine Terrace Second hand bookstores; the text-in-a-jar of Alice’s encounter with Humpty Dumpty, and their exchange on words; and, Alice’s curious relational experience of size in the extract ‘The pool of tears’; as well as an hourglass that stands for shifting sands, fluidity of time, transformations of culture, & notions of history.

Boats now ‘n then
Sub-marine Atlas

Some boats in particular:

1629 (2002)

1969 (2008)




Performance for Sandboxed by Roxanne Grant, 9.2.17, photo stills, video by Deb Cragan.







List of research and publications by Deborah Cain / Deborah Ryan

Academic Theses:

2007 Semiotics of Self: Reflections on the Work of Louise Bourgeois. Doctoral thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland.

1994 Between the Lines: Reflections on the Art of Michael Shepherd. Unpublished MSocSci thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton.

Journal Articles & Essays:

2017 ‘Sadness of the city: Reflections on Shanghai and Istanbul’. In T. Clark, E. Findlay & P. Kelly (Eds.). Worldmaking: Literature, language, culture. [FILLM 5] FILM Studies in Language and Literature 5, (pp. 133-144). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company. DOI: 10.1075/fillm.5 Retrieve from

2015 Nature studied: Trees, plants, gardens. Exhibition at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, 4-25 September 2015. Catalogue. Geraldton: Sun City Press. Cited by Renata Buziak

2012 ‘Walking Backwards, Reading Lu Xun: Shanghai, 2011’, Reading Room Journal, Issue 05.12 (August). pp.134-151.

2010 ‘About Photography’, in exhibition catalogue, ‘Nowhere’ now here, eds. Trish Macky and Naomi Williams. Calder and Lawson Gallery, WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato. [February-March]

2008 Review: The Text Morton Songbook, by Gordon Spittle. 12 October,

2007 ‘Extended Summer Musings on Two Art Shows in Hamilton’s Waikato Museum of Art & History Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, 2006-2008’. 5 January, Ed. John Hurrell,

2007 ‘Existence Reviewed’, an exhibition review of Existence: Life According to Art at the Waikato Museum, 14 July 2007–14 January 2008, published in CS Arts. Issue 29, Feb 2008. Christchurch,

2007 ‘Mist/Missed/Taxi Der Mist: A Certain Darkness and a Mist of Words’, essay, in exhibition monograph, Comma Dot Dogma, ed. Aaron Kreisler. Wellington, Umbrella, 2007. [Finalist in Montana New Zealand Book Award 2008, as a publication nominated for the Illustrative category]. Cain cited at the end of Horrocks, Shirley, Dir. & Pro. (2015) Tom Who? The enigma of Tom. [Documentary/Art Film]

2006 ‘Whitefella Cleaning? Topographies in Translation’, Sites, June 2006.

2005 ‘On Painting: a poppy and a cotton-reel tractor’, Ramp Magazine, Issue 3 (August), hardcopy and published on line,, pp.31-35.

2004 ‘A Fence Too Far?: Postcolonial Guilt and the Myth of Distance in Rabbit Proof Fence’. Third Text, 69, 18.4 July, pp.297-303.,%202004&offset=0

2003 ‘The Death of a God: Polyphony in the Work of John Pule’. ‘NGA WAKA’, ANZAAE Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators, refereed conference proceedings, Vol. One (1).

2002 ‘Criss-cross: intersections and contemplations’, exhibition catalogue up/down\up Easter Arts Festival, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.

2001 ‘Toying with Totem (?)’ Third Text, 56, Autumn, pp.19-24.,%202001&offset=0

2001 ‘Tom Kreisler in Hamilton – 1999 Private & Confidential’. Art New Zealand 100, August, pp.74-76, 127.

1995 ‘The Last Picture Show at the Centre for Contemporary Art’. Art New Zealand 75, pp.84-87.

1994 ‘Centre for Contemporary Art, Hamilton: 1982-1994’. Gallery brochure for Hamilton Art Centre, Hamilton.

1994 ‘Mark Cross: Landscapes’. Essay for exhibition catalogue, John Leech Gallery, Auckland.

1993 ‘The Gesture Of Her Pose’. Exhibition pamphlet for Merilyn Fairskye: Invisible Painting (touch-nothing), Artspace, The Gunnery, Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Deborah Ryan, cited

1992 ‘Difference and Identity: Reflections on the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha and L. Budd/Merylyn Tweedie/et al’. The Olive Pink Society Bulletin, 4:2, pp.19-28.

Other Productions:

2016 Curator, Living statue performance (Lizzy Robinson) and art tour walk, linked to the launch of the City Art Map Geraldton, 2-3 September,

2016 Producer, City Art Map Geraldton, an art project supported by City of Greater Geraldton Community Grant Funding.

2015 Curator, ‘Nature Studied: Trees, Plants, Gardens’. 4-25 September, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton, Western Australia.

2015 What is public art? Sunset Salon, ACDC Community Arts Geraldton, Geraldton, Western Australia, 7 May

2015 Botanic Garden Wish Tree Events, Geraldton: Harmony Day, 21 March; Quaff Food & Wine Expo, 9 May; WA Day at the WA Museum, Geraldton, Western Australia, 1 June

2007 Invited Presentation. ‘A Fence Too Far? Guilt and distance in the film Rabbit Proof Fence’. 26 February, in Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington DC.

2007 Public Floor Talk, on the work of Tom Kreisler. ‘Tom Kreisler, 10 November – 15 December 2007 Exhibition’, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand, 1 December.

2001 Public Floor Talk, on the work of Tom Kreisler. ‘Private and Confidential’ exhibition, The Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 11 October.

2001 Panel discussant, ‘Private and Confidential: The Art of Tom Kreisler’. Displacement and Creativity Symposium, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 4-5 Sept

2001 Curator, ‘European Painting: Simulation’. July – August, Ramp Gallery, The Waikato Polytechnic (now Wintec), Hamilton, New Zealand. Cited on

2001 Producer & Director, ‘Ko e Tala i 18 e Kala’, a video essay of John Pule’s suite of 18 drawings, Death of a God, in the exhibition ‘People Get Ready’, at Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.