At this time when we cannot travel, I have decided to reflect on some of my journeys that have given me great insight, learning experiences and immense joy in my art practice.
In September 2008 Walter and I toured Islands of Scotland.
The trip included several Ferry crossings, bridges and a causeway to Holy Island, or known as Lindisfarne; just South of the border on the East Coast of England. We toured in The Orkneys, Outer Hebrides, Mull, Iona, Anglesey and one week in Ireland to visit Walter’s ancestral home.
For me the journey was all about history. I wanted to visit the places where earliest humans had established settlements, I was seeking to find where my culture began.
I found that people have lived in Scotland for over 12,000 years and one of the oldest, surviving settlements is Skara Brae. Sited on the southern shore of the Bay ‘o Skaill, in the West Mainland Orkney Island it is dated from roughly 3180BC.
Pre Journey research introduced some incredible locations that I was itching to visit.
That journey was not just about me though, Walter also had an agenda. To have balance for both I concluded that perhaps after visiting several sites I would be satisfied.
Fortunately, or unfortunately that did not happen. The more I saw the more I wanted; I could not get enough of the history I was seeking. I wanted to walk the ground, feel the spirit of those who went before. I traversed fields in fog, climbed hillsides, delved deep into
Chambered Cairns and felt the warmth of standing stones.
I had been chided for some time over my love affair with China, being told that I was becoming Chinese and would forget my culture.
It made me question why I loved the Chinese and realized it was because of the long-established history of their culture.
White Australian history is a drop in the ocean of time. I am very aware of our First People, their connection to the earth and the 1,000’s of years of culture.
I wondered where I fitted in to all of this.
The journey to Scotland was immensely profound for me, I learnt that my people have always been travelers, they have been intrigued with new places. My recent ancestors who came to Australia in 1849 were adventurers, they settled in Melbourne, were successful in business and respected in community.
The main recognition for me is my interest in experience. I now know, through that journey and through my ancestors that I am a person with a curiosity for learning through experience; travel is education.
I was a few years into the Rock, Paper, Water Project that started at Bundanon in 2004, when we traveled to Scotland. I made a fresh series of forty-two bowls that took the journey with me. The goal was to find ideal sites where the paper bowls could be placed into environment to interact with Rock and Water.
The attached images were taken by myself except for one of me, thank you Walter for that.