My love affair with art began in my preschooler days, when I covered all the walls of our family home in coloured markers and crayons; literally, not a centimetre of wall space below the height of one metre escaped my frantic little hands. When we moved out, mum and dad had to have the house entirely painted over.
In high school, I would stay up until 1am creating vector art and building websites. For my final high school years, I compromised with my parents to study economics if I could also study visual arts. Art class became my outlet from an intellectually intense load of Advanced English, Maths Extension 1, Economics and French Continuers. For my major work, I spent tens of hours with my watercolour pencils, raw wool, hot water and soap (those last three are the ingredients to making felt, in case you are confused) to draw macro snapshots of nature such as bark and to make a sculpture of a tree. I can almost still feel the texture of the paper I drew on and the sensation of soapy hot water on wool on cold tiles.
I have often wondered why I love art so much, when I wasn't brought up to, and why I have this insistent compulsion to indulge in my creativity.
I have always been an incredibly deep thinker, with no topic considered out of bounds for my busy and insatiably curious mind.
Growing up, I was a voracious reader and writer but sometimes, just words fail. There are so many unshakeable connotations and established imagery with words that they can immediately taint our interpretation, taking away our ability to colour it how we want. Words are also merely not enough for when something is felt so profoundly such as heartbreak.
(By the way, I totally understand the irony of me using words to explain all this)
This is where I believe art steps in - especially art that can engage more than the sense of sight.
It may have something to do with the creative process. If you've ever painted, sculpted or drawn, you might be familiar with that almost outer-body flow state that you enter. It's as though your hands are directly transferring your thoughts and feelings from your mind and heart onto your medium. All inhibition is lost. Barriers that obstruct raw truth like fear of judgement and social constructs of right and wrong are smashed through. What is left is an honest, visceral and subliminal expression.
This expression could be deeply personal and vulnerable insight into another human's story or an unfiltered reflection on a complex, controversial social issue.
Art transcends walls and ceilings and gives me the sincerity and intimacy that I crave in life. So often, I am sick of dogma and rules and standards and expectations and art is something that makes me feel unbridled.
This winter, I went to six different exhibitions; one of which was Hidden 2018, a sculpture walk through Rookwood Cemetery.
For those unfamiliar, Rookwood Cemetery is the largest, oldest and most multicultural cemetery in Australia. Hidden 2018 is an annual, free, public outdoor sculpture exhibition that aims to demystify the misconception of cemeteries as dark places.
Indeed, initially, it may seem odd and even inappropriate to hold an art exhibition here but it isn’t only sadness, anguish and loss that is associated with death but also remembrance, celebration and love.
As I explored Hidden 2018, I was extremely moved by the delicacy and poetry of the artworks. Visiting a loved one who has passed on is forever an emotionally charged experience because grief never leaves…but I hope that this exhibition brings people some joy xx