Wednesday 26 April 2017

The Departure

I've recently opened a studio, gallery and shop dedicated to death in Castlemaine in central Victoria. 

I'm focusing my time and energy to this new project, which many have commented is akin to an ongoing performance work, it certainly feels like one. I'm now talking about death and dying with the public fours days a week!


Insta: @the.departure

Fbook: @TheDepartureAU

If you're visiting The Mill in Castlemaine, I'm open Thursday-Sunday 10am-3pm. I'm also available by appointment on the other days, especially if you're a media representative :)

Thursday 5 January 2017

India 2016

We just returned from 5 weeks in India with our 6 & 14 year old daughters which was epic to say the least. An absolute highlight was Varanasi and the burning ghats which we visited at least twice a day over a week. I'm still processing the whole trip, but here's a snippet of some deathie photos:

     Burning Ghat, Varanasi, Dec. 2016

Personal Altar, Kochi, Dec. 2016

South Park Cemetery, Kolkata, Dec. 2016

Friday 18 November 2016

DeathFest - Brisbane Nov 2016

I'm currently in Brisbane enjoying the Metro Arts DeathFest! 
Check out their program here: Metro Arts - DeathFest

Friday 9 September 2016

pet ashes urns

I'm currently working on a series of pet ashes urns. 

I take op shop handmade vessels and make lids for them. This is the first one, which is more like a test to see if I could match glazing. The bird/sun is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Donations of handmade vessels appreciated! 

Thursday 14 July 2016

Dying To Know Day 2016

I've been thinking a lot about what I might personally do this Dying to Know Day (Aug 8) as I'm not holding an event this year.

I am going to organise my Enduring Power of Attorney and my Medical Power of Attorney what fun!

If I'm suddenly incapacitated and cannot make decisions for myself while I am still alive, then I need to decide who I trust to be my attorneys, someone who can speak for me and understands my wishes.

Here's a great vid that explains how it works (for those in Victoria). It's not that hard to arrange, it's paperwork of course, but it's important paperwork :)

Here's the Dying To Know Day link to explore events happening around the country, there are some great ones happening in Melbourne:

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Death Cafe Castlemaine

Coming up on Saturday 18 June, the second Death Cafe in Castlemaine!
I'll be co-hosting with David Rigby.
Please RSVP by email.

Monday 11 April 2016

Installation shots from 'Remnants of the dead and demands on the living'

Obviously not professionally shot, but here are some installation shots for people who have asked. The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre City Gallery is a beautiful space, and the install team was fantastic. 

And behind the wall...

The exhibition finishes 15 May 2016. 

Thursday 7 April 2016

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

This exhibition had been organised for a year, and having only just moved to country Victoria, I've had to come back again! It's my Masters show with an additional work.

I'm at the gallery all day Saturday 9 April from 11am for the opening, the artist talk and a Death Café I'm co-hosting with Kerrie Noonan. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll have a lovely time.

Join us for the opening of

Hayley West
Remnants of the dead and demands on the living
9 April - 15 May 2016

To be opened by Sabrina Roesner Exhibitions Manager - Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Saturday 9 April 2016, 11am - 12pm

RSVP to or 02 4780 5410 by Monday 4 April. Free event. Limit 21 people.

Want to learn more about Remnants of the dead and demands on the living

Artist Talk
9 April 2016, 11.30am - 12pm

Find out more about the exhibition Remnants of the dead and demands on the living in a floor talk by the artist Hayley West.

Death Café
9 April 2016, 1 - 3pm

Following the artist talk, join us for coffee and a hearty discussion about the topic that some call a taboo – Death. The Death Cafe is a worldwide movement that aims to make it easier to talk about death, with a view to helping people make the most out of life. Both events free with Gallery entry.

Thursday 31 March 2016

Goodbye Grottoes

I've updated my Blue Mountains Grotto Love blog, as now we have left the mountains and moved to Castlemaine, in the Goldfields region of Victoria.

If you know anyone who would like to send me photos to add to it, let them know, my email is thecarrotjoke[at]

Here's a Melbourne grotto:

Image credit: Hayley West, Elvis Memorial Grotto Melbourne Cemetery, 1995, photograph, 10x15cm, personal collection.

Thursday 22 October 2015

End of life at home: co-creating an ecology of care

Last night was the launch of the 'End of life at home: co-creating an ecology of care' report and exhibition (which I put together/curated) at the Liverpool Hospital, NSW.

There's some newspaper articles about the report here:
ABC: Overhaul of Australian health system needed to allow people to die at home: study

And here:
SMH: 'Be there and be available' when someone is dying: Caring at End of Life palliative care report

Here also is a link to the book I produced as part of the exhibition:
End of life at home: the photographs - It includes some writing which sums up my feelings about working on such an amazing project!

Sunday 9 August 2015

Dying to Know Day - 8 August 2015

Yesterday I was very fortunate to host my second Dying to Know Day event, a Death Café in Katoomba. My first was last year when I ran a Death Café in Saint-Louis, Senegal on 8 August.

There are some great blog entries on the Groundswell Project website for Dying To Know Day, including my own that was published yesterday. Here's the link: 

Thank you to everyone who came to Death Cafe yesterday, all 26 of you!

Death Café Blue Mountains @ Music Hunter the Experience pop-up shop, Katoomba
8 August 2015 Dying To Know Day

Friday 10 July 2015

Death Cafe Blue Mountains - Dying to Know Day 2015

The next Death Cafe Blue Mountains is running in conjunction with Dying to Know Day - August 8.

D2KDay is an annual day of action in Australia dedicated to bringing to life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement.

For more information and see other events happening around Australia on August 8 go here -

Saturday 4 July 2015

Images from DEATH at Casula Powerhouse

I'm very sad to say goodbye to this exhibition, it was wonderful exhibiting alongside some fabulous artists: 

Declan Apuatimi, England Banggala, Carla Cescon, Ronnie Djanbardi, Simon Gende, Nora Holland, Richard Lewer, Thomas Munkanomi, Tony Pilakui, Samuel 'Marbuk' Poantimului, Patrick Pound, Clementine Puruntatameri, Tracy Puruntatameri, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Helen Shelley, Laurens Tan, Hayley West

Tuesday 26 May 2015

'Death becomes child's play'

The DEATH exhibition and a little about my work has been featured in the Art section in today's SMH!

Artist Hayley West with her five-year-old daughter Ramona, who is cuddling a rabbit she stuffed herself, in their Blue Mountains home. Photo: Janie Barrett

Read more:

Friday 1 May 2015

Copper Beech, Katoomba

My work for Portal to K-Town responded to the nautical traces found in the home (such as the porthole in the bedroom) with the tragedy of lives lost at sea.

Concrete Wreath 
Foam & plaster, 50 cm ø x 12 cm, 2015

Burial Shroud
Cotton & fish scales, 190 x 112 cm, 2014

Cemetery Wall
Digital print, 420 x 594cm, 2014

Monday 20 April 2015


MAP (Modern Art Projects) presents its next exhibition in the Art & Architecture Series. 

PORTAL TO K-TOWN, is an exhibition guest curated by internationally renowned contemporary artists Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro in an art-deco house designed by Donald Thomas Esplin with Paul Sorenson garden named Copper Beech in Katoomba The Blue Mountains. 

Invited artists inhabit the building for a day and present a unique dialogue in response to the architecture and provenance of a building that eclipses earlier art deco styles and modern functionalism. 

Artists featured: Damian Dillon, Mark Gerada, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro, Martin Kirkwood, Tobias Richardson, Joan Ross, Suzann Victor and Hayley West.

Eventbrite Booking Page

Saturday 25th April, 2015 
1pm - 4pm  ONE DAY ONLY!

Monday 30 March 2015

Inch’Allah [God willing]

Photos (taken on residency in Senegal) from the online project that suddenly disappeared when the online platform (JUX) I used disbanded without warning:

PROJECT LAB 3 - c3 contemporary art space, Melbourne

Inch’Allah [God willing] is an everyday saying I’ve grown to love in Saint-Louis. Spoken mainly at the end of sentences as a way to agree without confirmation (let’s meet tomorrow – yes, Inch’Allah) or as a response to a question without a necessarily positive outcome (can I have your phone number? – Inch’Allah!) The answer is left to fate, Inch’Allah is chance. This project positions random images with random personal thoughts, much how living here has become. Nothing is processed with ease.