I live by the motto: “Life is safe if you do not take a risk, but are you really living?” My art therefore, aims to emerge another into a culture, entirely different from a western one. My paintings bring back treasured memories of not just visiting as a tourist, but actually living in an Asian culture; which is a vastly different experience.
It is through engaging with or living in another country, that a person becomes more accepting of different cultures. In these fast-changing transformative times, characterized by world problems such as terrorism and pandemics, nothing else seems more urgent and important (Christine Velde in Into the Exotic: A Cultural Memoir, 2020).
My art provides an important message that calculated risk taking provides us with not just challenges and new experiences, but the joy and exhilaration of achievement. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture stimulates the senses and increases awareness, tolerance and understanding of others. There is also much that can be learnt by the western world, from a non-western country. For example in the case of Indonesia: respect for others, non-materialism, generosity, mysticism and different ways of being. The more one engages with exotic or foreign places, the smaller and insignificant one feels, yet part of a greater whole.
As an Australian artist, living a long way from the rest of the world, I want my work to be more global in context, so that others may gaze in wonder at the beauty of landscapes, seascapes and streetscapes and the fascinating art and culture of foreign countries.
During the painting process, I set my work aside and let it sit for a couple of days. In this way, I am able to take the necessary time to reflect on and refine the image in the photo and from my memories. When I paint, I feel another spiritual force takes over and I lose track of time. It is the exotic or foreign that informs my art practice and which I most want to share with others.