Emma Buswell

Born 1991 in Perth
Lives and works in Perth

Emma Buswell is an artist, curator and designer fascinated with systems of government, economies and culture, particularly in relation to constructs of place, identity and community. Her current work takes its inspiration from the matrilineal hand craft and knitting techniques passed down from her grandmother and mother, as well as a contemplative investigation into the nature of kitsch, ephemera and national identities.

Buswell has run a variety of artist-run spaces across Perth and Fremantle and exhibited and curated exhibitions across Australia. Currently the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award Coordinator, Buswell was resident at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy in 2011 and participated in the 2015 Australia Council for the Arts Venice Biennale professional development program. In 2020, Buswell’s work was the focus of a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and in 2021 she was an exhibiting artist as part of Perth Festival.



Once Upon a Time in…, 2021
hand-knitted yarn scarf
dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist 

Described by Emma Buswell as ‘part Simpsons, part Bayeaux tapestry, Once Upon a Time in… (2021) is an epic knitted scarf, documenting a timeline of infamous moments in recent Perth history, charted against the chronology of the artist’s own lifetime.

Named in reference to Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a satirical re-imaging of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Buswell’s artwork likewise makes use of multiple and converging storylines – personal, social and historical – to portray a rich tapestry of interconnected events of both mythic and mystical proportions. Collected from family, friends, co-conspirators, internet forums and news clippings, the stories referenced in this work remain intentionally unverified by the artist, allowing for rumour and hearsay. Knitted as a scarf, and designed to encase, fold and loop in on itself, these moments of history touch, bringing stories from the past into the present day.