Emergency Blankets (Appliqué)

Performance by Tom Isaacs.

This performance involves sewing crosses to Tom’s grandfather’s wool Royal Australian Air Force blanket and inviting witnesses to join him in conversation. Emergency Blankets (Appliqué) is inspired by the practical love and care that charity groups demonstrate for their community and for each other.

Emergency Blankets (Appliqué) is an ongoing performance developed as part of Tom's Emergency Blankets project for Carnivale Catastrophe. The performance involves the gradual creation of a new Emergency Blanket as well as the conversations that take place between performer and audience members during the performance. The crosses used in this performance were cut from scraps of material left over from the fabrication of the other Emergency Blankets. His use of the equal-armed cross in this performance echoes the red cross in the work of German artist Joseph Beuys and the logo of the International Red Cross—a humanitarian organisation dedicated to protecting victims of war and violence.

The importance of conversation in this performance was inspired by Tom's experiences working with his mother to create the Emergency Blankets and his visits to the Kandos and Rylstone Craft Group. These periods of working alongside people—joking, sharing, encouraging, and commiserating with them—were deeply inspiring. Conversation is a profound way to support each other and share in a sense of mutual connection and solidarity.

The performance will take place between 11am and 1pm at The Concourse ground floor foyer, outside the Art Space.

Image: Tom Isaacs, Emergency Blankets (Appliqué), 2022, performance at Carnivale Catastrophe at Cementa22. Courtesy of the Artist and Alex Gooding

About Tom Isaacs

Tom Isaacs is a Sydney-based artist, working in the fields of performance and textile art. His practice draws from psychoanalytic theory, philosophy, religious and ritual practices, and art history to explore themes of mental illness, mortality, and the human condition. Tom graduated from Sydney College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (with Honours) in 2008 and a PhD in 2022. His PhD research concerned the relationship between ritual, psychoanalysis and body art, and how these different streams of thought address the problem of alienation. Tom is a Sessional Academic at the University of Sydney.

This event is part of the Council curated exhibition Spirit Wave and Chatswood Culture Bites.


  • Saturday, 27 May 2023 | 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM


Art Space on The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, 2067, View Map

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