You'll Know It When You Feel It
  • Image: Dayannah Baker Barlow, Kathleen Duncan, Gillianne Laurie, Tammara Macrokanis, Amelia Rosella, Raphaela Rosella, Nunjul Townsend, Laurinda Whitton, Tricia Whitton and family, 'You'll Know It When You Feel It' (installation detail), 2011–2022. Photo: Raphaela Rosella.


You'll Know It When You Feel It

20 May–19 August 202320 May–19 Aug 2023


In Australia and across the globe demands are growing for a society in which prisons and policing are no longer the default solution to address social, economic, and political issues in our communities. Despite this, systems of surveillance, classification, and control extend far beyond prison walls, parole boards, and courtrooms. They are embedded in archives, bureaucratic procedures, and the subsequent documents that record an individual’s lived experience. Unveiling the ineptitude of ‘official records’, You’ll Know It When You Feel It is a socially engaged art project that seeks to resist bureaucratic representations of women whose lives intersect with the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

Co-created by Brisbane based artist Raphaela Rosella, this intimate work has emerged over fifteen years alongside several women in her life. From six-minute phone calls to handwritten letters that circulate between Rosella, her friends, family members, and loved ones, the multi-authored exhibition You’ll Know It When You Feel It examines the value of their co-created archive as a site of resistance.

Presented in partnership with advocacy organisation Sisters Inside, You’ll Know It When You Feel It will be accompanied by a series of community-engaged programs featuring performances, panel discussions, artist talks, and creative workshops. Led by contemporary Meriam/Munbarra artist and prison abolitionist Boneta-Marie Mabo, the program will provide a platform for criminalised and formerly incarcerated individuals, artists, activists, and scholars to challenge how art can resist the carceral state.


Raphaela Rosella, Dayannah Baker-Barlow, Kathleen Duncan, Gillianne Laurie, Amelia Rosella, Nunjul Townsend, Tammara Macrokanis, Laurinda Whitton, Tricia Whitton, and family

Artist Bio
Raphaela Rosella

Raphaela (Rosie) Rosella is an Australian artist of Italian immigrant and Anglo-Celtic convict/settler descent who resides in Meanjin/Brisbane. Rosella’s practice draws from her lived experience of being raised in Nimbin—an over-policed, low socioeconomic community in New South Wales, Australia. Working at the intersections of socially engaged art and long-form documentary practice, Rosella has spent over fifteen years co-creating photo-based projects alongside women in her life to resist bureaucratic representations. To date, their co-created archive has been used across family albums, memorial services, legal proceeding, and art exhibitions, including Photo Biennale Photoquai (France), UNSW Galleries (Australia), Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art for Organ Vida International Photography Festival (Croatia) and The Centre for Contemporary Photography (Australia). By positioning ethics and consent as an ongoing process of relationality, engagement, and negotiation, Rosella engages in a broader theoretical dialogue around the power and authority of state archives, photography’s complicity in maintaining imperial regimes and their connections to the PIC. Their work has resulted in several co-creators obtaining significantly reduced custodial sentences and multiple successful bail and parole applications.

The IMA acknowledges, thanks, and pays our deepest respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we work with and the Country we work on.