I am a member of the Warrandyte Uniting Church and was asked to respond, in a presentation to the congregation, on the theme:
Stepping out into the unknown and the Blessings this can lead to.
Sharing and passing on of peoples’ gifts and how this benefits others.
Below are the notes I wrote to support the presentation.
I spent more than 17 years engaging with China. It became familiar to me almost like a second home, however, there was a time when China was unfamiliar; only known through books and information passed on by a dear friend.
Stepping into the Contemporary Art World of China was exciting to meet and discover other artists; however, it was scary as to how I would ‘fit in’. What did I have to offer as I was fresh out of my Art Studies and came from down under, middle aged with very little communication skills? So many other international artists came from UK, Scandinavia, Europe and USA. I had no grand resume’, publications or catalogues.
So, I got to work making art in response to my experiences.
My first artworks consisted of rice. Rice is a staple food for Chinese, they eat it, they do not make art from it. Very soon I was invited to participate in exhibitions that continue even now. I found that people were interested in what I did, where I came from, how I expressed myself and the way that I wanted to learn from others. I was not only accepted into the world of artists in China but regarded as an equal. I learnt an immense amount about Chinese culture and those around me were willing to teach me. China is challenging, even in everyday activities yet for me during the 17 years of amazing experiences every experience has been a blessing.
Because I have been very fortunate in my engagement with China, I achieve a great deal of satisfaction in sharing my knowledge and skills at all levels.
Working with children is always joyful, watching them discover new ways of creating through different materials and ideas, talking with their parents to assist them to understand how and why children are exposed to a range of educational methods.
I was listening to a programme based on teaching men to cook and the thrill that the men had in knowing that they had the ability to create and coordinate a tasty meal was so exciting for them.
I am excited to know that by passing on my creative knowledge encourages others to have a go. I am excited to know that my knowledge and skills can be of benefit in collaboration and team projects for the broader community.
And then I am excited to know that my skills in creating has assisted others in need. The current Fundraising exhibition at Montsalvat for Fire Relief means that the selling of my artwork will give benefit in a practical form. As of 4 March, $17,640 had been raised from the generosity of artists’ giving.
During the past 17 years I often stepped out into the unknown to discover wonder, to be blessed with opportunities, meeting and making friends, discovering new ways and developing deeper understanding. I look forward to the future with hope that I continue to have the courage and confidence to step out into the unknown.
I have been blessed with seeing little lights flick on when a child or adult realizes that they can do something or understand something that I have taught or explained. I am pleased that I can offer my knowledge and skills to benefit others, to collaborate and be part of a team, especially in our church where our outreach stretches far beyond the boarders of this plot of land.