Image description: At night, from a low angle, a historical South-East Asian building is lit up in red and yellow. In the foreground is a string of blue and red lights hanging in the sky.
By Abigail MacLeod
The first piece of art I can remember seeing was a cross-stitched rooster, hand-made by an auntie and hanging over my stone fireplace in my tiny hometown. I loved to stand as close as I could and look at the shiny embroidery threads, the black felt backing, the slightly angry-looking rooster peering down into the living room. That same rooster now eyes us suspiciously, two decades later, in our home in Perth. Even though it is just a cross-stitch, it holds great value – art is made, crafted, exhibited, enjoyed – and more importantly, remembered.
Image description: From a low angle, a tall, white building stands behind a historical South-East Asian building. The historical building features bright, jewel colours, and small figured statues along the frieze.
My teachers and parents used to whisper behind my back that I’d never be an artist, and when I was younger, I could manage to draw a circle, square, and possibly my best rendition of an ‘amorphous blob’. It didn’t stop me, not at all – I drew my best amorphous blobs and showed them to my family proudly. Eventually, I began to develop my own art style. I began to appreciate art a great deal, with my love for maps, illustrated story books, and street art blossoming into a creative mind. The art we see as children, the things we witness in the creative sphere, and the ones we remember shape our creative minds – even in the most subtle ways.
My first trip to the Art Gallery of Western Australia was with my high-school art class. I vividly remember walking around, taking everything in, disregarding the worksheet in my hand, and just existing. I was in the realm of the artists now. One sculpture has ingrained itself in my mind with vigour – it was a brown, ceramic rendition of a stick – with googly eyes attached. It was simply titled Stick. I cannot quantify the sheer joy this stick gave me, staring out from its acrylic casing with an intense, googly gaze. This was a turning point in my creative journey – art was not just beautiful or thought provoking: it was humorous too. Something to be enjoyed beyond, ‘which feelings do you feel here.’
Image description: In an apparently abandoned building is a concrete wall with sprayed graffiti in different colours. On the ground are variously-coloured, jewel-toned, small square tiles, some cracked.
My recent memory is filled with art of a different kind; art that isn’t always purposeful, or that which is found in unexpected places. I was lucky enough to spend my time travelling in South-East Asia, through countries rich in culture, heritage, and incredible beauty. Although the street art and murals were incredible, detailed, and culturally significant, the striking memory of tiled roads, ornate buildings, temples, and colourful streets will remain in the forefront of my mind. Creativity is something that can be found everywhere – and is something that remains in the memory. It shapes the artistic mind, evokes emotions, and continues the profound creative legacy of the artistic world.
Abigail MacLeod is missing the Formula One season so much she’s started building her own car out of cereal boxes.
Images courtesy of Abigail MacLeod