“Since I was a child I have always been proficient with words. I painted as a form of this expression, as I had no other outlet for the words.
It wasn’t until 2012, whilst doing a BFA at COFA, UNSW, that I started to incorporate the two, and words became an important part of my performance art; you cannot divorce one from the other. While doing an artist residency at Fowlers Gap, north of Broken Hill, NSW, I was able to return to my grandmother’s country. I absorbed the spirituality of the land and was compelled to perform, photograph, write and paint on Country — but most importantly, to sit down and experience a belonging to the land.
This poem was inspired by that visit to the Darling River in my grandmother’s country. In the Barkindji language, ‘Barka’ means river, and therefore my ancestors are the people of the river.”
Accompanied by a painting:
Teena McCarthy, ‘Whatevahappentu Ophelia’, 2014, mixed assemblage: organic ochre house paint, found perspex, found antique wood frames, antique wallpaper, organic pigment mineral blue eyeshadow, wire and tape