Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, 14-16 July 2017.
ARTIST STATEMENT – KAREN REYS
The Passage of Time - Some Place to Belong
Karen’s work investigates a pathway to finding one’s own Truth, Acceptance, & Light. The journey through the passage of time has led Karen to embrace her spiritual connection to Country, Humanity, and her genuine self with all of its unique and distinguishing features.
“What your Spirit is doing is connecting back to land, giving back your Spiritual.”– Uncle Willy Gordon (2016)
INDEPENDENT ARTIST EXHIBITION – KAREN REYS
“I AM Whole – Turn the Table Series (2016) by Karen Reys was first a vessel for the artist to embody her own sense of self and self-worth. Now an Altar it acknowledges and honors the resilience of our Aboriginal people, and their family, community, nations, and Ancestors. Throughout the passage of Time and the universal energy of love and light, our Ancestors and our Dreaming bestow upon us Now their Gift to us. It is Time to Rise as Aboriginal People. United as One so that We all Can begin to Fly.
The poem ‘Freedom’ (2017) by Karen’s six year old daughter Diana symbolises the joy of being in the present moment with the connection to the self, heaven, earth and skies. A Freedom that does not internalise or be constrained by systems that disempower or dispose us of our individuality and uniqueness but a place or society that provides passage that enables the choice and the freedom to express, and be an expression our true selves.
The work references the documentary ‘Mr Patterns’ and the ‘Jane Elliot Blue Eyes Brown Eyes’ and each account bear witness to the hatred and cruelty of racism and discrimination. Geoffrey Bardon’s belief in individuality, uniqueness and self-expression led to the beginning of the Dot Art Movement in Papunya, West of Alice Springs, in 1970s. The values of Respect, Honesty and Integrity held by Bardon and Elliot continue to provide the pathway to bridge two cultures to open the way for more exploration, understanding and respect for traditional Aboriginal cultures and peoples. For Australian Aboriginal people the art movement has provided a sense of Place and Belonging.
The "Healing Circles" (2017) is a cultural and spiritual strengthening model. It represents a self-paced and community supportive structure in which individuals can connect their own dots to break down the stereotypes and negative belief patterns both internalised and imposed by historical, societal, parental and environmental conditioning trans-generational. The symbolic languages are new lore’s from the Dreaming that teach us how to survive. They are a new instrument in thinking, learning and understanding. A new way that is most needed in today’s society, environment and the world. Guided by the principles of Love, Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Hope, Vision and Medicine Karen promotes a pathway to change the collective and individual consciousness of self and the world.
“This is Who I AM – The Transition of Time” (2017) by Susan and Karen Reys affirms that I will not suppress the real ME. The painting symbolises the changing in the old ways to the new ways. It acknowledges the beginning of Aboriginal Energy Medicine Healers, the Fire of Life & Love, and Abundance for All. It carries the message of the Dreamtime and the Three Laws. What’s good for the land comes first. If you have plenty you share. Don’t touch what doesn’t belong to you.
The Filing Cabinet "To Smooth the Pillow of a Dying Race" (2006) by Karen Reys began as an exploration of Karen's cultural and spiritual identity. As a fifth generation removed from her family's ancestral land she examined the spiritual connection to the land. The cabinet represented Indigenous people's collective experience of history - the colonisation of Australian lands and Aboriginal peoples. The cabinet also represented the personal and the need to explore and understand the content in the drawers. The intent was to release any hurt, pain, grief and emotion that restricted the movement in the present. A personal and symbolic journey that set free not only the Self but enabled the personal histories and memories of loves ones held within the government records of the filing cabinet to finally lay to rest and at peace.
“I Can Fly” (2017) by Susan Reys and Karen Reys acknowledges the power of the human spirit to overcome obstacles and triumphs in the search for the meaning of Spirituality and Life on Earth.
The bird now nurtures the Seed of Love in its Heart and it feels Alive. The passage of Time has led the bird to find its own wings and it feels like it can fly. The bird comes to thank those who have helped her on her path in life. The bird knows that her destiny awaits her. She now trusts and believes in herself and whatever will be in-spite of the society, culture, and economy. For she is stronger Now with Love in heart and the ability to fly.