WHO AM I?
Artist, Writer & Maker of Many Things
Gudjula & Girramay Woman
Describing oneself is not always the easiest thing to do. Which box do we fit into best? I want to say that I am an artist, a writer, a maker of many things, but I am also, a mother, a carer, an Aboriginal woman, a neurodiverse person, a survivor of DV, CA, SA and complex trauma. I am an animal lover, a nature lover, someone that loves to run, play, hike, dance, sing to myself and help others. All of these things describe me, are me and make me who I am. They are important parts of my creative journey and what I put into my art and writing. I am no one single thing, I am many things and those many things make up me, my story, my journey, my art. I've been creating for as long as I can remember. From scribbling portraits of old people at a very young age, to sketching the landscapes of our rugged outback, I love to create.
My people and culture are Gudjula and Girramay, from far North Queensland, where the ocean meets the rain forest and the rivers meet the dry red dirt of the Australian outback. The bush was my childhood playground and it was and is the core of my creative being. It's beauty, magnificence, harshness, cruelty, and ability to give so much is boundless. They shape much of my art and writing.
I pursue my creative practice from my little backyard shed in regional South Australia. From here I experiment with painting, illustrating, digital media, weaving, embroidery, crochet, creative writing, and much much more. The imagination knows no limits.
At my side is often 1 very barky companion: my fat dog (an overweight chihuahua - we are working on his weight and yes, he has been spoiled a little too much - my bad). On occasion, I am visited by my wonderful son, and his very posy long-haired chihuahua Rocky. They are quickly ushered out of my space by my fat dog (who sees me as his 'hooman').
My artistic practice is an ongoing exploration, unfolding, intertwining tale of my Aboriginal cultures, stories, and experiences along with all the wonderful, inspiring, and intriguing things that venture into my life. I've lived a life of many journeys taken across our beautiful planet to far away and nearby places. These journeys feed my imagination and from them I create.
Exhibitions are an important part of my practice, where I showcase new works, stories, moments, and get to create some fun installations. I have done many solo exhibitions in various locations in SA and I've joined others on this journey. It's been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but each twist and turn brings with it more opportunities to create and share stories with others.
I love to write. With that a lot of my artworks encompass written pieces. Often these are my favourite parts of my artworks. Over time I will find ways to incorporate my writing more prominently and overtly in my artworks. I see the written parts as key to my storytelling style. I like to be a little obtuse in the meaning of my artworks in there physical presentation and let the written accompaniments reveal their deeper meanings.
I'm not a brilliant artist or writer, let's just own that. But, I am a passionate artist and writer. I love what I do and I do it with love. Stories are the bedrock of my being and being able to share them with others is essential to who I am and the journey that I am on.
I have lived a long life, one full of adventures, turmoil and hardships. But, amongst the hardships has been love, lots of love. I am grateful for the love that comes into my life and those that stay with me.
My most recent exhibition "Threads" has been a major milestone in my storyline. It has been the culmination of many years of working through my past trauma as I continue my healing journey. It is a story within a story within many stories. It is the catalyst to my healing journey. It is the collection of many difficult and heartfelt thoughts, memories and dreams packaged into a vibrant colourful playful showcase of artworks that delve into dark parts of my past. I have been blessed to be able to bring such an important body of work to the public and to share my stories in this way with so many people. I have been honoured to open up narratives and important conversations about the lived experiences with trauma and PTSD. It has allowed those conversations to be held in a safe space, in a safe way amongst others that share in the trauma journey. For me, presenting this body of work at this point in my life was the right time. I am stronger and confident in my creative journey more now than I have ever been, because I have shared this story and others have received it with open arms. The warm embrace of an open audience, willing to hear different perspectives and share in their own stories, has been the most fulfilling part of this journey.
The next stage of my journey is in the moving images and film space. I've been thinking about film for quite some time. It is the obvious path to take for a storyteller in our times. Film, whether it be fiction, documentary, animation, or any other form of film, holds so much potential to reach people and to have my stories told and heard by many. I love bringing my art and stories to life through moving images.
Stay tuned though for more about me as my creative journey takes twists and turns in many different ways. I will now and then add to my story through my blog at https://www.gunduybykatbell.com/blog
and my Instagram page @
I look forward to continuing this creative journey with you all.
If you would like to support my creative journey visit my page "Support My Practice" to learn more.