The Annual Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival is in its fortieth year, a great track record for a rural community festival. This year’s theme for the art show is ‘Across the Bridge’, to be interpreted in whatever way inspired the individual artist.
I had no desire to paint the actual ‘bridge’ that carries folk from Bendigo to Eaglehawk, which was the inspiration for the theme. Apparently, in the early days of the area’s settlement, it could be a dodgy undertaking, crossing that bridge. Even now, poor Eaglehawk comes in for some bagging, being considered the rougher quarter of the larger community.
However, it caused me to think about the different forms of bridges we cross during our lives, the struggles of my ancestors, and the vast differences between young folk, then and now. We are all pioneers in our own ways. For me, it’s a pioneering of spirit and heart, rather than actually forging my way through the wilderness of a new country. Though, at present, my backyard could fit neatly into the category!
There’s also creative pioneering, a striving for a personal and unique way in which to represent the myriad ideas that pop into my head. They jostle for attention and shout to be expressed in physical form. In this instance, it was the urge to express a connection between now and then, a crossing of the metaphorical bridge of time. How my mixed media piece will be received by the judges and the visiting public is far less important than the drive to put the idea onto canvas, to make it tangible.
Whether we are internal adventurers, creative pioneers or inventors of hi-tech gadgets, perhaps the related emotions of excitement and anticipation, mixed with a dollop of trepidation, are akin to those experienced by our forebears. They left behind all that was comfortable and familiar. They risked everything in a bid for a new way of being and living, and often a reinvention of self, with no guarantee of how things would work out. These days, most of us have no need 0f a machete, but pioneering still holds no guarantee of success. Not that that should stop us.