Where does my art come from, what’s the meaning behind it?
It’s autumn in Australia. The heat from summer still comes and goes but it’s not enough to stop you venturing outside anymore. You have just moved into a house by the bushland and there is a whole hill to explore. Walking through high dry grass and bursaria bushes that seem to snag at you, there is a sharp drop ahead. Casuarinas, wattles, eucalyptus have seemingly started to fight back against the bursaria here, following them closely a couple of baby kurrajongs have joined in. You can hear the kangaroos but not see them. The grass gets greener and thicker and the slope sharper and rockier, granite replacing ancient dry clay baked in the summer heat. Here a creek has worn away at the hill. Slowly forming a gully that is glistening in the low morning sun. The granite and the rocks, the grass, the newly growing trees mixed with their older wiser seeming parents.
This was the gully. The place I spent a lot of my youth when I wasn’t up a tree. It is what inspired me to start my art and poetry practice.
I wrote a poem about this gully, it talked about how it glowed, flowed, how it was strikingly beautiful. I felt like I could tell this gully’s story. How it formed, how it was beautiful, how peaceful and tranquil it was. I did an artwork that went with the poem. Together they appeared in the school paper.
I was promised I would get my artwork back. That the front office would look after it and I would be able to take it home.
I never saw it again. I felt betrayal, silenced, I never shared my poetry and artwork with any of my teachers the rest of my primary school life. I felt like barely anyone cared about it. Or the environment it was inspired by. As more people moved into the suburban haze, the scars by their refuse become more obvious.
This is where all of my art comes from. The silence of my inner child, trying to speak. I wanted to scream and show what I was feeling, but only through art was I able to really express it.
Three things are combined here, my spirit, my soul and my body. Each speaks in my art. Sometimes just one speaks, sometimes two, or all three. This rawness comes out.