I am a visual artist based in Wyndham. My work involves creating life sized theatrical scenes, costumes and sculptures that I then use to create a “painting” using photography. My artwork is all about creating new characters and mythical worlds. My characters are always strong women who have been through a lot and transformed into goddesses or super heroines.
You may have seen my work at the Wyndham Art Gallery last year as part of the group exhibition ‘New’. Featured was my photography series The Goddess Dandelion. I created a story about her special power to trap noisy leaf blowers and magically turn them into birds. She is a hybrid creature: part middle aged women, part dandelion weed, part snake and part electricity. This work was the culmination of my Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) project and to compliment the visual art I wrote a research paper and picture book. I was lucky enough to be chosen to present this paper and speak about my artwork at The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology Biennial Conference in New Mexico, USA in March this year. With the generous support of Arts Assist, the Wyndham City Council and a crowd funding campaign I raised enough money to attend this incredible event. I returned just before the COVID-19 pandemic really took off and restrictions came into place but went straight into 14 days of self-quarantine at home. A week later hotel quarantine was introduced so I was lucky I didn’t have to do that.
The global pandemic created an intense feeling of uncertainty not least for our own personal safety. My response was to return to my first love of charcoal drawing. Returning to what I know best created a mediative mood to relieve anxiety. The archetype of the mother was strong, evoking a response to ensure our basic needs were met. Our focus was on protection, home, an abundance of food and connection and the nurturing of our inner child. Alternate Ending posits Medusa putting herself back together, building a safe home for herself and providing for her inner child. It was a hope and a prayer for the world to do the same.
Toward the end of lockdown I was commissioned by the City of Wyndham to create a work for the Red Centre street art exhibition which is currently on show in Werribee, on the corner of Watton and Wedge St. I responded by creating LobStar Woman.
After 111 days in hard lockdown LobStar Woman was optimistically looking to a positive summer. This poem sums up how I was feeling.
I am LobStar Woman.
I am free.
No net, cage or ring can steel me.
I steal myself.
I dive deep.
Deep into a somatic memory.
I glide through the cool icy water, carrying the heat of the sun.
Dissolve it all.
Welcome cold jolt, deep in my bones.
Connection is total.
No more pane.
I am feeling hopeful about 2021 as things are slowly opening up and people are going out more. Art projects are in progress and I have been commissioned to create another set and character for an exhibition in Wyndham. Down the track I am hoping to run some workshops for women in Wyndham. You can contact me and see more examples of my work at www.ceardaidemelza.com.au Instagram: @Ceardai Facebook: www.facebook.com/ceardaidemelza