Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Introducing Lauryn Arnott – Workshop Participant, Adelaide South Australia

Crossing over 162 x171 cms. Medium: Charcoal, charcoal pencil, collage, on Dessin 300gsm paper

Lauryn Arnott
I arrived in Adelaide, Australia, in 2003 having lost my home to a brutal regime in Zimbabwe, Africa. In Adelaide I started the Crossing Over drawing as part of a Masters of Visual Arts degree. This drawing became a site of remembering and forgetting memories through a process of drawing and erasure. My methodology became a physical enactment of the state that I found myself in, a process of working through persistent memories, acknowledged and unacknowledged, a retrieval of history as memory and memory as history. This process works as a catalyst through which I can harness my sense of place and identity. It is an appropriate technical way of dealing with memory and loss, using the mark as an increment of retrieval and its erasure as a metaphor of loss.

The Crossing Over drawing was exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, as a part the 2009 Harare International Festival of Arts. Much like my participation in The Border Crossing Project, this demonstrates my interest in the important role that art can play in retrieving and transforming ideas and memories that cross borders and cultures. My intention in this to create links and build relationships between different countries and cultures, despite what is said in the media.

Part of the content of this drawing is the deliberate use of fragile and temporary materials such as the large unprotected sheet of paper pinned to the wall. The fragility of the medium of this work expresses its stark subject matter.

The Collaboration

I worked together with Nina Rupena and Patricia Wozniak; we come from diverse cultures, yet our work has been shaped by the fact that we are all living in Australia because of the conflict in our home countries. I came from Zimbabwe, Nina from Bosnia and Patricia’s recalls her grandmother’s stories of her displacement from Poland after the war. The central themes that we share in our work is; conflict, displacement, fragility, memory and post-memory. An important factor we discussed was whether cultural diversity was the source of peace (and collaboration) or the root of conflict. In this we felt that it was vital that our collaboration be one of negotiating and not negating our work and our histories, because there is no single essence, no single history.

What I consider an important aspect for The Border Crossing Project, is that it can open up a dialogue in which the artists and viewers can consider their own positions on these proposals.

Meaning through making:
The deliberate use of fragile and temporary materials is an important aspect of our collaboration. The materials; collaged paper, charcoal, pastel, xerox transfers, lace for stencils, spray paint, printing ink and muslin

Text by Lauryn Arnott

The Earth's waters are both boundaries and pathways for peoples, objects and ideas.
Fumio Nanjo

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