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
Now available to purchase. Go to https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/745124562/story-of-the-goddess-dandelion-first-of?ref=listing_published_alert
Hardcopy, 30x30cm high gloss, full colour picture book. Designed for middle aged women (and friends) it tells the story of the creation of the Goddess and her special healing powers. A great gift for the feminist, environmentalist and art lover in your life. The book is filled with the unique photographs of Ceardai Demelza.
"Instantly she felt an electric current inside her. Ignited, it grew and shot down straight into the earth, connecting her. Downward like roots into the earth she grew. The petrochemical pipes and wasted energy around her became part of her. As she burrowed down deeper and deeper into the earth, she struck a magnificent energy source of light and love which she would be forever connected to. The black and brown snakes that lived in the tall grass around her flew toward her in worship then turned green replacing her human arms. The dandelion weeds swept up and around her head until she no longer had a human head but rather a buzzing powerhouse of dandelion energy. Wasp Woman called to her through the breeze “You are the Goddess Dandelion. Your role is to disrupt and heal. Draw power tools to you. Soothe them and transform them so that they may bring love to the world. You have the power of the dandelion, and the snake and are connected to a deep electricity in the earth.”
Here is a link to the catalogue with some beautiful words about the exhibition that I was so fortunate to be a part of. https://art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/resources/catalogue/performing-textiles-catalogue/
"There is more serpentine bling to be had in Ceardai Demelza’s The Goddess Dandelion 1–5; garishly coloured studio shots featuring a creature with a yellow head, green leaf-like limbs, and yellow cables for roots. Against a hot-pink backdrop, this multi-modal goddess performs essential tasks such as caging a leaf-blower and pouring a cup of tea. Shiny snakes entwine themselves around other props, including: a rake for sweeping leaves more effectively (and without the noise and pollution); a cage that houses the leaf-blower; and the goddess herself, in a love clinch. Cheap, mass-produced fabrics are enlisted here to perform in new and unexpected ways, telling stories that not only transcend gender stereotypes, but species boundaries. The humble dandelion might be experienced as a weed by some, but is here reimagined as a goddess, not a multi-armed Hindu deity, but a tentacular (if rather day-glo) Chthonian, an under-world entity that Donna Haraway would be happy to tangle with in her efforts to subvert the sky-god, ‘prick tale’ narrative of heroes." Tessa Laird.
Hey there! I have created my own Youtube channel with a whole 7 minutes of fun and frivolity for your enjoyment. Please check it out.
I recently had the great opportunity of being part of the Trail of Lights Festival as a featured artist. I was given a wetlands area as my site and created a video installation in response to it. The character that I created for the event was The queen of the wetland sprites , a new heroine for new world problems. She emerges from the wetlands atop an upturned shopping trolley, discarded water bottles and a stray thong in tow. This site specific video installation draws attention to the beauty and diversity of the wetlands of wyndham. It is well known that rare species of birds travel from around the world to come to our wetlands. I wanted to imagine other creatures might inhabit the wetlands and also make a comment on the environmental sensitivities of the area and reflect on how we treat this precious place. It was such a great opportunity. You can view that entire video at my Youtude Channel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAsb-RqV7fE and the photos below show how it looked onsite. Photos by Philip Trott.
What a wonderful opening night at the Ian Potter Museum on Friday the 16th August. So very honoured to be part of this show with such a wonderful talented group of artist. First museum show - hopefully more to come. Please enjoy these heart warming photos of people responding to my work The Goddess Dandelion. If you missed the show don't worry, The Goddess Dandelion will return in other iterations to come.