Black Oubliette formed as the twisted dreamchild of Holly Fenwick (bass and vocals) and Greta Welson (guitar and vocals), circa 2018. Later to be joined by Natasha Fordyce on keyboard, and Richard Brown on drums.
The name Black Oubliette arose from the 1986 movie classic Labyrinth, a cultural touchstone for many 80s kids. In particular for young girls who rarely saw capable, determined females in leading movie roles.
Oubliettes have been a method of torturing and disposing of people since medieval times. The terrible Black Oubliette (featured in the Labyrinth), was such a dungeon in amongst a realm of fantasy. A place where Jareth placed Sarah as part of his mind game to discourage her from her journey (a tactic he uses more than once in this film). Sarah pushes through however, in her own determined yet naïve way, learning as she goes through some valuable lessons. This film depicted the hard choices we must make between living in fantasy and facing reality, and the consequences they can both bring.
The older you are upon re-watching, the more those themes resonate, hidden messages start to appear. "You have no power over me", becomes a battle cry for navigating the hazards of modern love and the patriarchy, as a reminder against the type of love bombing and gaslighting Jareth the Goblin King bestows upon 16-year-old Sarah.
"Within Doom”, Black Oubliette's first music video, spawned from a reinterpretation of the Labyrinth soundtrack song "Within You".
The video was shot and edited by Holly, and starred Greta, naked on a cold winter's day crawling and writhing around in the mud of the forests in Kaitoke. Playing with metaphors this music video tells of a desperate journey to heal from abuse, and merges stark reality with the realm of fantasy.
"Within Doom" was exhibited as part of a Ritual Space dark arts exhibition at Potocki Paterson Art Gallery (Halloween, 2018). The video was presented as an installation, projected in a closed off room with as many branches and sticks Holly could drag and fit in there to bring the viewers into the forest, and hotboxed with incense she created to invoke the senses.
Due to the challenges of being alive in these times Black oubliette didn’t get to jam much after that. Until this year when Holly and Greta came together again to revisit the concept, and take turns going between Stokes Valley and Mt Victoria for jams, in between the perils of still being alive.
From this came another regurgitated 80s children's classic movie soundtrack song. From a film which created a new level of fantrauma that would be permanently embedded in many minds over many generations. 39 years ago, the androgynous appearing warrior Atreyu took us on a journey through hope, despair, grief, brave challenges and victory.
For this music video it was Holly who put herself in unpleasant circumstances to film herself in bath scenes with dead foliage and coloured liquids, most of which she cut and didn’t use. Then she dragged her friend Nyree Lewis into the forest and got her to do strange unspeakable things. The result of which went on to be Black Oubliette's music video for N.E.S.t.(Never Ending Story of trauma), which dips into the theme of carrying and working with intergenerational trauma.
Holly Fenwick she/her/they is a multidisciplinary artist currently living in Te Whanganui a Tara.
A constant need for creative expression has led her to experiment with any artistic medium she can get her hands on.
Experimental photography, printmaking, oil and watercolour painting being amongst her favorite go to visual mediums.
Holly attended Hungry Creek and the Learning Connection art schools in her 20's, and later completed a BSc in Psychology and Religious studies. Her lifelong interest in human belief systems, behavior, mundane and magic rituals, and occult practices all intertwine throughout her art.
With Black Oubliette's music videos Holly has been able to fuse together a bunch of her creative passions, encapsulating the songs in an audio-visual art microcosm.