The idea came to me when I travelled to Europe for the first time some years ago to visit my parents homeland Malta and to see art I learnt about in art school. Through Europe I observed many broken statues scattered through the rural and city landscape. The common aspect of these weathered fragments are very similar of colour, texture and drama to the native gum trees at their dead stage here in Australia.
When I returned to Australia I travelled the country side, mainly the freeway to Gordon where my twin brother lives.Its on this journey that these dead gum trees started to remind me constantly of the broken, weathered statues I witness in Europe. I then began the task of trying to relate these statues and trees in a painting. At the same time make the painting relevant to our Australian culture today.
Australian Art,, in general has always been dominated by the “Landscape”, whereas European Art is more about “Religion and Symbolism”. In the painting I was aiming to fuse these together, to make a connection between my European cultural background and being born and raised in an Australian culture. The most important realization is that even though people like myself are of European heritage, we are fragments of past cultures and traditions each new generation losing more and more of our past cultures, becoming a new people in our so called “Multicultural” destiny.
Is our Multicultural community just fragments of the worlds' past? This painting called, “Fractured, fragmented hill”. The green symbolizes the fresh new beginning; the sky is the ever changing. The tree figures represent the people as a metaphysical form, ie when a gum tree is no longer in its prime it metamorphoses into this dead stage becoming dramatic in appearance and a definite prop in our changing landscape. The opened gate symbolizes welcoming of new opportunities, the hill representing our climb in life and the higher spiritual self.
Click to read the opening speech for the exhibition by Chris Reidy, Arts Officer of the Western Region.
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