Odyssey, in betweenness?


“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that [wo]man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end” ― Homer, The Odyssey 


It took ten years to Ulysses before returning home. The Odyssey ends as the hero finally proves his identity and returns to power. It is my tenth year living in Australia. I read in Ulysses’ quest for identity and acceptance by the people of Ithaca, a symbol of my own Australian epic journey.

Like many other immigrants, after all these years, I am still learning how to belong. Once you depart, you become a tree which roots have been packed, waiting for one day, to finally sink your roots.


A few months ago, I was commissioned a wedding anniversary present. It was for a Greek woman who has immigrated to Australia almost at the same time I did. 

Starting from the idea of what women would take with them when living their birth place for good, this work encapsulates notions of family and cultural heritage. It also talks about displacement and what life could have been back home if one had remained. 

Like for this woman, though life is sweet in the southern atmosphere,  homesickness and unsettled feelings are also a reality for many.


For 6 uninterrupted months, starting in August (in 2 weeks!), I am going on the final chapter of my Australian Odyssey. I conceive it as being my last and ultimate immigrant quest that I hope will feed once for all my craving for belonging. I hope to gain a better understanding of my adoptive country, the tensions that animates it, its achievements and its hopes. During that time, I will document the different voices, natural environments and cultural facets that have built this country. I'm hoping to find a place, geographical or spiritual, for "people like me" to settle in. I'm not sure if I will find it orif I will discover that there is only in betweenness. Time will tell.


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Born in France, Sofie Dieu’s first encounter with art was through church. With a penchant for ritual and spirituality, the artist is best known for her fragile, sombre, and sometimes violent ink paintings and textile works.

 

Poetic and humanist, her practice draws on her journeys to China and Australia. She explores how identity and memory fluctuate according to their immediate environment. Landscapes, people, secrecy, healing, and the dichotomy between light and darkness are some of her recurring themes.

  

Multi-art prizes and award finalist, her work was included in the Sydney North Art Prize, Waterhouse Natural Science prize and the Contemporary Art Award amongst others. In 2016, she worked on the Camperdown Cemetery installation for Sydney Biennale. In 2017, her work will be shown during Vivid and Mental Health Month in Sydney.