Saturday, October 20, 2012


 Histories Oil on linen 80 x 200 cm

I have previously written about my experiences exhibiting in the Middle East [Dubai and Abu Dhabi] and the conversations I shared with people from all over the region. I have also written about my experiences exhibiting in Australia and the conversations I have shared with people who have visited my exhibitions. My experiences in the Middle East, particularly in Abu Dhabi December 2005, where I sat with my exhibition each day for two weeks, made me realise that conversations stimulated by art have a capacity to reveal a shared humanity. How? The agenda-less quality of these conversations takes people into a shared space where differences become less different, and similarities are revealed. I describe these conversations as agenda-less, but certainly not direction-less.

This agenda-less, but not direction-less quality is the revelatory element with a capacity to bypass superficiality, chit chat and small talk. It has the capacity to build relationships, based on sharing deeper conversations where people talk about how they feel, recount personal stories, reveal fears, articulate desires and more. Ultimately these conversations are not about the art, but without the art there is no trigger. This was certainly my experience in Abu Dhabi, each day, with many people from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.

I have sat with my last three exhibitions in Brisbane. Again, conversations triggerd by my paintings are stimulating. However, Australians [Westerners] are a little more reserved about expressing how they feel. Yet, I have noticed, over time, that when people realise I am interested in what they see in my work, they open up in a way which if I met them at a party they possibly would not.

Gate Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm

I believe art has a catalytic role in developing meaningful relationship across the globe. Yes, it could be called 'soft diplomacy', but people [particularly Westerners and their Governments] must question and be careful of  'show and tell' attitudes...inherently agenda driven!

I like the concept of agenda-less conversation because directions are not prescribed, thus new perspectives are possible. Art [all Arts] is a catalyst for discovery...if we are brave enough.

I have previously written about the arts and diplomacy in a post titled DIPLOMACY

Oil on linen 80 x 200 cm
The painting at the top of the page was in my 2005 exhibition at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. It is now in the Foundation's Collection. It is one of the paintings that triggered many conversations with men, women and children who visited the exhibition. The tree-of-life symbol was immedaitely recognisable to people, thus conversations bypassed explanation, to discussions about meaning, puropse, peace and life. I have previously written about Histories

Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm
This painting was in my last exhibition Quiver in Brisbane [April 2012]  and it was one of the paintings that stimulated many conversations. I have previously written about Gate

I am having an exhibition in Melbourne in early 2013. It will be at Purgatory Artspace, the project space attached to Gallery Smith, in North Melbourne. I held my exhibition Paradise there in September last year. The dates are 29 January - 19 February. Opening night Friday 8 February. I am thinking of calling it Cosmology


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