© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.
I have located a large space in Broome North Western Australia where I shall produce a new body of work. The day temperature is usually above 35 C inside the studio so it is hot and occasionally it is cooking! I don't mind sweating too much as long as the studio is stable, functional and cyclone proof. This cyclone season five storms are expected to hit the area. Besides the possibility of 250 kilometre per hour winds, massive rains and storm surges I must also be aware of poisonous jellyfish in the ocean and large estuary crocodiles that sometimes cruise by the beach. Last week one was spotted at the popular Town Beach. This makes jumping in the water to cool off really not the best option. Mango and coconut trees are just outside the studio door with the accompanying flocks of fruit bats flapping about at night and the geckos singing their little tunes as they hunt insects. There has been almost no rain for the past two years so everyone is waiting for a good wet season. Broome-time is the local term used to describe the relaxed pace of the town but for myself I plan a busy and intense period of studio time.
I move about on a bright orange bicycle fittingly branded with the name "Gypsy". Peddling over red pindan covered roads and paths I am focussed on the art in my head as a dozen paintings are aching to be realized. I also attempt to be in one place for a change, which is no simple matter for me. It is my fifth visit to this fairly remote desert / tropical Kimberly region so it is familiar to a degree but also rather exotic compared to the more populated and temperate south.
In late October a day trip was made to the Bidyadanga aboriginal community just south of Broome, which was interesting to see a group of artists working away painting patterns, and stories that are much older than the nation of Australia. In fact the themes and marks used in most aboriginal artwork is 40,000 years older than even the notion of Australia.
My tenth TRAVAILOGUE exhibition was held at SHORT STREET GALLERY here in the Chinatown sector of Broome. This gallery shows aboriginal artists from the Kimberly areas that were nomadic many years ago but now adapt to a very different manner of living. It is a rough transition period for most. Strangely I exhibit work made on the road that depicts restlessness and asceticism with a neo-nomadic flavour. Wether my art or some elements of my images last a few eons like some aboriginal symbols is very unclear at this stage. 40,000 years is made up of a lot of weekends! Before I think about a time in the distant future it is probably best to first try to understand this concept of Broome-time.