Exploring New Territory

O ne year ago in a Time in Review blog post I gave the analogy of a ship and going ashore heading into new territory and also with the vision of working with Aboriginal peoples.

In some ways I wasn’t too far off in other ways I was very much off the mark. I’ve been apart of an indigenous activist group that meets once a month and it has been a real journey. We’re walking and working together through the process decolonizing our minds, a really brutal but freeing process that I believe all colonisers need to embark on (by coloniser I mean someone that is not indigenous to the land and establishes control over the land and/or people through action and/or ignorance). I have also recently become an admin of the Facebook group Indigenous Rise (which you’re welcome to join!), which is a daily reminded of my own colonisation and keeps me active in sharpening my knowledge and exposure to indigenous issues worldwide.  I still haven’t let my original vision go of wanting to record Aboriginal languages but this vision is way more complex than I idealised it to be but my optimism has been boosted with the release of the 2017 National NAIDOC theme ‘Our Languages Matter’. I also haven’t lost the vision of wanting to make music, I’m being taken on a different journey for the time being. 

The new territory I found myself in was very unfamiliar and a something I’m still exploring. That new territory is YWAM Artisans. What is that you say? Well, I can’t spill all the beans just yet but I’ve been pioneering it with the Event Management team here in YWAM Wollongong. One of the components is to make a way for future artists to be able to partner with a YWAM base as an Artist in Resident to create art with a different structure and more freedom. 

What have I been up to this last 8 months?

Highlights in no particular order:

  • I spoke on the DTS (Discipleship Training School) a little bit about about creating and co-creating with God and how art influences society. I really look forward to teaching more as I grow and receive deeper understanding.
  • I’ve been able to finish 4 artworks while I have been here. Which have a lot of personal meaning and self discovery as I’ve journeyed with them. It’s been awesome to see how God moves through the process of me creating and how they are catalytic moments for my personal development.
  • Made this website, and online store!
  • The many trips to cafes working on YWAM Artisans
  • I was able to have my art printed on canvases at the sizes I originally intended. 
  • I spoke at a Christian art gathering, sharing my journey through art and my testimony. 
  • Went to the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival in Sydney and got to pray for a whole bunch of people in a booth that was set up by a church. 
  • Earth Frequency Festival to volunteer in the gallery selling art. It also gave me a couple of tools to cary into my artist journey within the business side of things.
  • I was able to make my first video/audio installation! I learnt After Effects, which was fun and painful haha, I just wish I was able to transfer all my skills from Photoshop to any other program I jump into.
  • I went on a camping trip and did some field recordings (which I used in the installation).
  • Chris (from the indigenous activist group) and myself shared pieces of what we’ve learnt and our journeys to the SOSM students (School of Strategic Missions). 
  • All of the friends that have come and visited me has also been a highlight for sure. 
  • I made a song, it’s the first full song I’ve made in years (I haven’t released it yet but if you’re reading this you can listen to it here, don’t share it around… Yet!).
  • I had my first exhibition with RAW (big thanks to the 38 people who bought tickets and those who came and supported me!). I was also able to share my story and testimony behind the pieces I’ve made with the attendees. (If you haven’t read any of my art descriptions, dive in!). 
  • I taught Psalms (Ancient Hebrew Poetry) on the SBS (School of Biblical Studies) and loved it, it was my first lengthy teach experience and I learn’t so much. 

So grateful with all the opportunities that people given me to share what I can in a variety of different ways.

TL:DR – Made art, printed it, showcased it, thought about it and talked about it. Learnt things and shared what I learnt. 

There has been a lot of growth, I’ve noticed I’ve started to wear this word thats written across my chest more intimately. For as long as I can remember I would cry about 1-5 times a year out of personal pain. I now cry at least once a week not out of personal pain but baring my heart publicly and privately, with tears of lament and joy, out of grief and pain over broken people and nations, out of displays of beauty and decorations of truth. 

A funny thing happened the other day, I watched I’m a Missionary, and realised to my surprise I was one. I don’t conform to the status quo, I’ve said no to the dream of wealth, left my family home, learning a language I’ve never heard, sleeping anywhere, eat anything, all to make God known to a people not my own. I continuously mess up, and miss represent God, but I will serve, tell people that they are loved, that miracles do happen, that God does speak. I’m doing in the way that the most natural to me, expressing it through art, and testimony. I’m simply just trying be vessel to capture and express the goodness of God. 

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  • Robyn

    You are gifted and creative beyond explanation.

    I’ve watched the fingerprint on you from birth. You are an individual, so accepting and embracing, not judging. Exceptional

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