2024 Printer in Residence announcement: Keg de Souza

Keg de Souza browsing books in Rare Books and Special Collections

The Library is excited to announce Keg de Souza as the 2024 Printer in Residence. Keg is an interdisciplinary artist of Goan ancestry, who creates social and spatial environments using a variety of methods including handmade books and zines, sculptures, videos, workshops and tours.

Keg’s practice deeply reflects on the concept of place, including themes of displacement (through lenses such as colonialism and gentrification) as well as stories of plants and people. Keg draws on personal experiences to inform her layered projects that often centre on marginalised voices. Themes of food politics, temporary architecture, publishing and radical pedagogy also feature throughout her practice.

Keg has trained as a bookbinder and has been publishing artist’s books and zines for over 20 years. She was previously the recipient of the Artist’s Book Residency at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. Keg has widely exhibited her work across Australia and internationally, including projects created for Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; South London Gallery; Artspace, Sydney; Setouchi Triennale; Biennale of Sydney; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Delfina Foundation, London; Auckland Triennial; and Jakarta Biennale.

Keg’s residency at the University of Sydney Library will continue her influential research into the movement of Eucalyptus through Empire. This research began whilst Keg was in Edinburgh in 2022 and, more-recently, Keg collaborated with Awabakal Elders and brothers Uncle Doug Archibald and Uncle Norm Archibald to create two print works whilst at a residency at Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) Yapang.

During her residency with the Library, Keg will produce Uncle Doug and Uncle Norm’s shared stories of Eucalyptus trees marking sites of significance – a two trunked tree marking a camp location and a scar tree – in letterpress print. These works will sit alongside printed bark and leaves Keg has permission to take from Country for this project. Copies of these collaborative art works will be included in Rare Books and Special Collections as well as exhibited at MAC Yapang in December 2024.

Keg will also reference works held in Rare Books and Special Collections, such as A critical revision of the genus Eucalyptus (1903-1933) by early Australian botanist, Edward Maiden, who influenced the spread of this fast-growing species now covering over 22 million hectares globally.

An open book featuring botanical illustrations

Whilst many are drawn to the look and smell of Eucalyptus, there are serious adverse consequences of transplanting this species including soil degradation, lower water tables and increase of fire risk. A striking reflection of colonial practices where traditional knowledge and those who know how to care for Country were displaced. 

Keg said about the project: "As printer-in-residence I propose to produce Elders' stories in letterpress print to sit alongside nature printed bark and leaves... my acquired work in Rare Books and Special Collections would extend learning and open this Western archive, placing cultural knowledge and stories from Uncle Doug and Uncle Norm, alongside the colonial collections... to highlight gaps we find in archives and serve to tell interesting stories of power, control and economics– and consider whose knowledge and expertise is valued within these systems."

Keg will start her eight-week residency at the University of Sydney Library in semester 2.

The Printer in Residence program is made possible with the support of the Friends of the Library.

About the Printer in Residence Program

Fisher Library is home to a printing workshop and an antique Albion letterpress printer, purchased by the library in the early 1960s, and affectionately known as the Piscator Press.

The Printer in Residence program was introduced in 2018 with the goal of increasing awareness of the Piscator Press and to encourage an ongoing enthusiasm for letterpress and book arts within the University. The program aims to foster a creative dialogue between print and digital processes, while encouraging experimentation and engagement with the Library community.

We thank the Friends of the Library, Art Scene, and the Penrith Museum of Printing for their continued support of the Printer in Residence program.

The printing workshop is located on Level 1 of Fisher Library on the Camperdown Campus, and we welcome enquiries from anyone interested in using the space outside of the residency.

Installation view of Keg's artwork Blue Haze. Eucalyptus branches hang from the ceiling and fabric is draped from ceiling to floor.
Installation view of Keg de Souza's artwork Fleece Fugitives
  • Contact

    For further information about the Piscator Press, the residency or using it in your teaching or research, email Rare Books & Special Collections.