The past few months has been a very interesting time as I have settled into life in Sydney. I've been working hard trying to balance art, study, work and family life and for the first time in 20 years have found myself in a lecture theatre, soaking up information and ideas new to me. I spent one whole lecture learning and discussing two paintings. Just two paintings, can you imagine. One whole lecture on two paintings. There was something so seductively indulgent in that for me, a guilty pleasure almost. And the best thing, it was all about colonial art, and about the stories each painting told about the artist and the subtext of ever so subtle commentary about what they were observing about the community and the landscape. Together with an old friend, I've also recently gotten through to the second round of a public art tender which is exciting news, and we now have a bit of work to do on the next stage. All very exciting!!
But then, in the last 48 hours I've had a very disappointing 'art world' experience where I was backed into a corner and forced to make a very difficult decision. In the end it was an easy decision - maintaining my integrity and following my gut instinct won the day. As a counterpoint to that I decided I needed an outing to regroup, and to change my mindset a little, because the experience had come as quite a blow (and yes I am being deliberately circumspect..with good reason). So, with that favourite expression 'Chardikala' in mind, I left the house with optimism, determined to be positive.
A little later I found myself sitting outside a delicatessen in Paddington, with a frenchman serving up a delicious breakfast akin to what I would have eaten whilst travelling the far flung places I love. All the while, I was reading about Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, and reflecting on some of the great literature and history of that region, the amazing cottons associated with Chennai, the french colonial influence, and the tropical landscape. It made me want to research more, and re read some of the Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth's work on India. I then walked into an Art Gallery next door to see the work of an artist who I have recently discovered, whose subject matter I can relate to - focusing on the landscape of the Asia Pacific. My geographic focus is a little broader, and my subject different, but I relate to her focus on the botanical and the vibrancy and forms of the tropical. I got talking to the Art curator in the gallery, who, like me, had gone through a significant change in career direction, was a mother of young children and had an interest in ceramics. So warm and refreshing, and the complete opposite of my dissappointing experience. It might be silly, but just then a mustang drove car...the car that i've always wanted to buy. Ha! It felt all very serendipitous, and I felt like I had reconnected with my old self a little bit more. It's funny how life takes you down these paths which aren't always good for you, and how it takes conflict to sometimes help you confirm your own integrity and authenticity, and just how important that personal contemplative time is to remind you of where you should be.