Benevolent Asylum

Just for fun


On two balmy Saturday evenings on 28 November and 3 December 2011, Lily Hibberd and Wart led a party of 20 or so participants on a tour of twelve sites or “stations” along the foreshore of Sydney’s Luna Park and Lavender Bay, a harbourside suburb on the lower north shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Commissioned by Sydney’s Performance Space and curated by Bec Dean for the WALK series that took place across the city in 2011, this performance revealed how histories of asylum and exile underpin contemporary memories of Australian institutions of confinement.

Photography by Alex Wisser and Richard Manner.

Wart and Lily devised a promenade style performance combining Wart’s lived experience of institutionalisation and her aesthetic representation of this through performance and poetry, and Lily’s ficto-historical art practice focused on the stories of asylum institutions established in the colonies of Australia.

Benevolent Asylum: just for fun was both a history lesson and a group performance that temporarily embodied some of the physical and emotional forms of institutional confinement. It did so through the resonance of Lavender Bay’s own struggle to remember as a reflection of Australia’s wider culture of forgetting past trauma.

Memory Projects