artist faridah cameron

Recently I saw the image "Family story" (pictured, top) and I had to find out more. It is the work of Tasmanian artist Faridah Cameron who has a long history of theatre design at events such as the Woodford Festival (you must check these amazing creations out on her website). Now, she concentrates on painting in her studio in Hobart's Mt Wellington.

Which five words best describe you? Absorbent. analytical. idealistic. dedicated. honest. Of course, that could also read: impressionable, critical, hopelessly deluded and tactless.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? I was a radiotherapy technician. I realised I was in the wrong career, quit, had a family and then studied Fine Art in my thirties. While I was at art school in Darwin, theatre director Neil Cameron came to town and called for volunteers to help on a project, creating huge papier mache sculptures in the water at Mindil Beach and setting fire to them. It opened up a whole new world of artistic possibilities for me. Neil and I started a theatre company together and did huge outdoor ritual theatre events all over the country; it was a way of getting art out of theatres and galleries and seeing art not as a commodity but as a creative activity. We also involved hundreds of people from the wider community, and tried to reconnect them with something more elemental by working outdoors in extraordinary places, from desert claypans to the Yarra River, often making use of water and fire. I did a Masters degree and went back to studio painting, which is what I had originally intended to do, just in the last few years.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your intuition, but be observant of the results. That way you actually train your intuition.
What’s your proudest career achievement? You know, I don't really make a separation between "career" and the rest of my life. To me it's all one thing - I just live it. I guess I'm proud to be able to say that I've achieved that synthesis.
What’s been your best decision? To live by the things I believe in, instead of taking the obvious and often more socially acceptable path.
Who inspires you? The Dalai Lama. For me he represents spirituality without religious dogma, politics without aggression.
What are you passionate about? Painting. I love its history, its fluidity, its endless possibilities. Music, especially the opera. I listen to it all the time when I'm working. My family. I love them to bits.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Well, I could say Leonardo or Ghandi, but actually I'd really like to meet my great(x4)-grandmother, who came to Australia around 1830. I think she could explain a whole lot.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would quite like for my paintings to be well known and seen as having some lasting value.
What are you reading? An anthology of selected works of Virginia Woolf, a friend's PhD thesis and an encyclopedia of Indian handcrafts. But if you'd asked me last week, it was Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith and a Rebus novel.

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