In Australia, the holiday season is a double whammy. Last week, public schools finished for the year – the first term of the new year begins at the end of January – and this week, businesses and their employees wind down for not only Christmas and New Year celebrations but also a long Summer holiday, comparable to August in Southern Europe. Many Australians, for whom holidays are something of a religion, enjoy four weeks of paid leave. From now until the middle of January, nothing much happens that isn't leisure-related. Most art galleries remain closed until the beginning of February.Predictably, I don't take much of a break. I already live on one of the more fashionable of Sydney's northern beaches so I don't feel the need to 'get away'. Because my phone goes quiet and I have no assistants around, I'm able to focus on neglected projects with fewer interruptions. My working days are longer and more solitary.
When I'm not immersed in my art, I catch up on my reading – and, even better, the backlog of films, documentaries and favorite series on my digital TV recorder. I will spend Christmas day alone, an expression of my own insistent detachment and the reality of there being very few with whom I'd really want to share it.