I draw my inspiration from the many forms I find in the landscapes that surround me: the barren, the sparse; the ancient and multi-layered; the rocky, the dense, the ephemeral, the fleeting; the passages of dark and light. Getting to know a place – its colours, forms and textures – involves making intimate connexions. As these connexions mature, the pleasure and delight in new-found beauty is accompanied by a befriending of the plain and unappealing. And the reverse is also true. The befriending of the plain and unappealing gives way to the pleasure and delight in beauty. As I apprehend and untangle layers of colour, texture, form and line, the landscape is re-revealed, new-found and re-vitalised. I work in many media, oil and beeswax, print making with sugar lift, eco-dyeing with local flora on paper and textiles.
For the Mangroves from the Water Exhibition I will be producing a new work. This will primarily be print-making on paper and textile that explores connexions with the mangrove stands in my local environment – the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria. In making this work I will be collaborating with my husband Peter Martin, who has a deep attentiveness to the spiritual in our world and the environment, in particular interweaving the text of his observations and theological concerns with my own visual language.
Please see our YouTube Channel for a beautiful short video by Helen, introducing her work.
As a young adult my vocational interest shifted from the science of the environment to things that can’t be put under a microscope. Being a good child of secular Australia I had bought into the great Enlightenment delusion that reasonable minds would prevail once the evidence was made known. However, already, the question for me was: ‘Why doesn’t the truth of science get traction in the human heart? On top of this, how can the beauty and wonderment of creation fail to trump human greed and selfishness, which then makes us deaf to the just cries of the environment and to the poor?’
These days there is much discussion on the importance of hope – having hope; with eyes wide open.
For me, the ‘Mangroves from the water’ project has something essential if hope is to be cultivated: being empathetically connected to non-human creation. In this land, that will mean having had formative experiences of its beauty and wonderment and the indigenous culture attached to it. It is my belief that the abiding legacy of such experiences will help offset and even override the inner desolation that is now coming to us through the multiple and simultaneous manifestations of the global climate emergency.
One such experience for me has been in the mangrove habitat which surrounded me from birth into adulthood. Just as my wife Helen Martin, one of the artists in Zahidah’s collaborative project, has helped me enter into the experience of the Australian desert where she was born and grew up amidst an indigenous community, so now I will accompany her, sharing something of my world of the mangroves.
Text edited by Zahidah Zeytoun Millie – Curator