Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Once Upon Another Time
It was long ago and somewhere completely different – a party at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney to celebrate the publication of a book I was in.I had shaved off all my hair, which used to hang in long loose curls. I had put on weight. I was beyond caring. An aging male artist I’d met only once before told me I didn’t look as pretty: “Women should have long hair,” he said. I glanced at the spongy bulbs at his hips, the oily skull underneath his thinning hair, and his gaping overbite. I said nothing. As I moved through the room, almost every man I met tried kiss and hug me, even if they didn’t know me. I turned my head so they couldn’t kiss my lips, and I moved their the groping hands off my hips and arse. Several pressed their business cards into my palm and invited me to call. I stopped to get a drink. I could see one of my works from where I was standing. It was a two metre high self-portrait, in high gloss enamel. I was in my underwear, holding a rifle. I tried to remember the person I was then, but I couldn’t. I felt unbearably damaged, like my soul had been leached from my body leaving the rest of me trapped inside a dessicated, brittle shell. My eyes shifted to the desert landscape behind the figure. I knew that part of me was still there; wandering, lost and broken, bleached like old bones by the sun, on the fractured mud shores of that long-dry outback lake. My life is different now. And I've regained the part of me that was missing out there for so long.