• Samantha Wortelhock

No Man’s Land


This has been one of those rare weeks when I’m not painting. Due to life circumstances, I do depend on the regular rhythm of abundance so these weeks can wobble me … but I also have faith that there are times when matter needs to gestate, I require rest and focus so projects can healthily birth in due course.

This week it’s been a bit like the nativity. Three gifts full of promise and an imminent birth: Immaculate.

Firstly I juggled the idea of picking up the little brush and reaching for those canvases that spend too much time in the dark. My original paintings were the genesis of my public artworks and they tasted prominence … and I want to go back to where they were born one day.

However, my public art projects are developing a life of their own. They are not about ‘me’ and I really respect that.

So, I made my way to Ballina this week to induce business support for my public art project that has been growing for about nine months. Firstly I stopped by Bunjum Aboriginal Cooperative (my heart starter) to share my intentions as well as discuss the fact that my wonderful bank manager is keen to help get the Saltwater Women productive on Cabbage Tree Island again (but that’s their baby …) I ventured out of their room full of hope, to knock on business doors. Ballina's response was above and beyond what I expected. This was Gift #1.

Thursday I visited two schools. Firstly Wardell Public School which neighbours Cabbage Tree Island, heartland of Ballina’s Bundjalung Aboriginal mob and the Saltwater Women. Their P and C had recently discussed my murals and I was contacted by a woman who was a participant in a program I designed and delivered to help people see their potential three years' ago … a single mother with a gift for designing educational creative craft projects for pre school children. I encouraged her at a time in her life when she didn’t have a lot of faith in herself (though it was clear to me that she had talent) she is a success story … she aspired and she delivered a clutch of learning eggs that she sells at local markets. Kirsty called me. Made my day. Made hers. Look out Wardell … then on to Rous School to reunite with a principal who once upon a time taught my son. The twin experience was Gift #2.

And the week ended with a loving couple ... The most beautiful souls who happen to own two of my iconic original paintings: The Last Supper and The First Hurdle (amongst others). They live in Wellington NZ and purchased the paintings when, as artists, my then husband Damien Naughton and I were flying high. Doctors both, they don’t judge the trajectory of my life. That the original paintings sold for huge figures … they simply don’t question me. The most pure, caring, hopeful, loving and faithful couples I have ever had the (thankfully regular) pleasure to meet. When we are together I bask in the glory of their twilight years. These people who know the value of everything are a gift in their own right. This was Gift #3.

Their visit validated my commitment to humanity and made me want to prepare for the home birth of an original.

Viva la vida.

#CabbageTreeIslandSchool #WardellPublicSchool #Saltwaterwomen #Bundjalungmob #BunjumAboriginalCooperative #Ballina #originalpaintings #threegifts #Immaculate #publicartworks #publicartprojects #businesssupport

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