Citadelles, the lost cities

After exactly 3 months travelling around Australia, some patterns have started to emerge. Not the types involved in daily routine (if such things exist when on the road), but natural patterns found along the way.

I discovered many fortresses, towers, lost cities, perched in the sky, built by ants or eroded by wind and rain. Hidden in the bush or standing strong by the side of the road, I fully embrace their antic presence. Imagine me, contemporary explorer covered in sunscreen, armed with my Canon, a sketchbook and couple pens dripping with ink, recording these lost words. What is the most fascinating?

The work of time, being slow for the sculpting of the above rock architecture, or swift when building castles of clouds, is as much impressive. They also stress how much construction work is going on out there. The hardest workers I found so far are the Queensland's ants.

You have to imagine a classic Victorian house next to this giant nest. The very tip of the house would not nearly reach the top of these termite fortresses. Inside are thousands of tunnels not larger than a pinky finger, all interwoven in some of the most subtle lace pattern I have got to witness.

They are sometimes broken by a fallen branch, and like the cloud castles that are in constant transition, or the rock cities that invisibly erode, these improbable architectures will feed our need for beauty endlessly. They are certainly feeding my art practice and if I had the means to create some large scales works, I would make multi-panels ink paintings that hardly fit through galleries' doors.

Thankfully, I am limited to my pocket sized sketchbook and won't be able to work on these gigantic works until next year... that should give you ample time to make some space on your walls.

#citadelles #lostcity #greenart #ecology #SofieDieu #clouds #termitenest


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.