STEPHANI BECK is a creative soul making the world a better place.
Guest Editor of #18 Regional Voices, Holly Isemonger, interviews cover art contributor, Stephani Beck.
One of the reasons your artwork is so great is because it is undeniably contemporary, but has history built into it. Can you tell me more about how this dynamic works for you?
My grandmother was one of the first generations to be stolen from her parents when she was 5 and this resulted in loss of language, culture and connection to the land she was from. My mother was also taken from my grandmother when she was around the same age and placed in a mission. This led to me not having any of this knowledge and connection to country passed to me. As I got older I started feeling this enormous sense of loss as I thought about not being able to speak language, visit the land my grant was from, or have access to any of the creation stories that were passed on for thousands of years. This picture of the corroboree is my take on what a ceremony would look like with the fire, dust, and smoke creating a visually stunning performance.
When you start working on a new artwork or illustration, do you have an idea that you want to express? Or do you just start, and the meaning comes to you as you go?
When I start painting I feel like the finished product is somewhat of a coincidence, I don’t have any real plan when I start and maybe it’s all the thoughts going through my head that come out on the canvas. I feel like this is my way of coming to terms with the loss I feel when thinking about the dispossession my family experienced.
The second picture that is interlaid with Corroboree is called Karkula. This is the silky pear found in Kalgoorlie regions and is found on vines weaving up prickly bushes after the rain. The seeds open up into silky little parachutes and fly off waiting for the next rain to come. This is what Kalgoorlie was named after.
Who are some of your favourite artists/illustrators/ inspirations?
My best moments of inspiration come when I’m working alongside young people. The new ideas and different ways of thinking always spark my imagination and I’m constantly amazed by their optimism.