From rock climbing to art making

I started rock climbing about 10 years ago in China. I first climbed in the north of Beijing, and a few years later favoured Yangshuo in the south, where the rock is sharp like a knife. The height, the exposure, the wind and the contact of the rock has always appealed to me.

Climbing requires a lot of thinking, strategy, strength, balance, bravado, mutual support, perseverance. Experience has taught me that there is no room for ego. Not out there, not at a hundred meters high. When facing the mountains, you'd better be humble, and when you are not, it is punishing.

Being by the cliff is a bliss. A few days ago, I was in the Blue Mountains and the view up there was fascinating. The sky was high, the clouds floating peacefully over the trees top, their shadows gently drifting away. Spending the day in the bush made me feel whole.

I take these experiences back in my studio and from the mindfulness to the struggle and the satisfaction, it all comes out under my brush. Bush, mountains and rock formations are recurrent themes in my art. The natural elements also play a key role in my creative process. I use water, chalk, charcoal, ink and salt.

The landscapes I paint can be large, over 2m x 2.5m, some are small 20cm x 20cm. The size doesn't matter as such, what is important is the energy and emotions contained in the work. They are the recipients of my experience of the world, they are my



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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.