Studio updates.

Endings (and beginnings)

At the opening of my exhibition  Deluge  with Julie Barratt who gave the opening speech. Artwork: Requiem for a [life] Jacket.

At the opening of my exhibition Deluge with Julie Barratt who gave the opening speech. Artwork: Requiem for a [life] Jacket.

In every ending there are the seeds of new beginnings - and sometimes visa versa. On Friday night this week I was surrounded by friends and family to open my long awaited exhibition Deluge as we approach the second year anniversary of the big flood in Murwillumbah in 2017.

The long gallery at M-Arts on Murwillumbah was a perfect venue to show off the three suites of collage artworks I have made over the past two years with the papers marked and muddied by the flood waters. I was so proud that I was able to exhibit them in the town where it all happened and to have had the initial support of the artists grant from c.a.s.e Mullumbimby in 2018.

Every time I finish a big project like this, I experience both elation and a sort of grief. There is a letting go of all the emotion attached to the creation of artworks, especially these ones which relate to a traumatic event in my life. Through this adversity I have undergone a transformative jounrey of healing, and this work has taken me to new places in my art practice and propelled me into new methods of working with nature.

Where to go from here, when I felt this project was finally finished. I have been drawn to share my story with others who have been similarly affected and Townsville is calling. Such severe flooding hit Townsville in far north Queensland just over a month ago as well as devastating farming country further west. Like Victorian towns affected by bushfires, people who are caught in these extreme weather events are traumatised and need to have opportunities to express their stories.

So I am now on route to Townsville to make connections with artists and art groups who may be inspired to start art projects as a method of story validation. After travelling over a thousand kilometres since Friday night, I am staying with my friend Julie who lives in a beach house overlooking Keppel Island in Yeppoon. It makes the trip all worthwhile if you can rest and recuperate on route. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the road again, but for tonight, I’m in paradise!

The view from the verandah.

The view from the verandah.

Heather Matthew