Paint, sculpt, weave, repeat
True to form it’s been a long time since my last update. This time it’s been over a year.
So, what’s been happening? It’s probably easier to ask – what hasn’t been happening? A global pandemic, 5 waves of Covid lockdowns, lots of personal stuff, good and bad, and the loss of my Dad. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-05/aboriginal-elder-john-patten-laid-to-rest-in-traditional-burial/12210992
It’s been hard. Really hard. But like I wrote in my last post, it’s all about getting back up off the canvas, and going around one more time.
Creativity has been a refuge, and here are a few of the works I’ve produced over the last 12 months:
Football guernsey for Echuca Football Club
Worn during their Indigenous round fixture during July. The design tells the story of the club and of the Yorta Yorta people (of whom I am one), and of a connection to Ulupna Island, by a prominent family connected to the club. This is one that I am rather proud of. It’s also the first football garment I’ve designed in over 10 years. The last few were for the Singapore Rugby League, Nederlandse Rugby League Bond, Kingston Warriors in the UK, and the German national Rugby League. Oh, and the Baryulgil Devils, a team I played for with my younger brother and cousins.
A 2.3 metre tall sculpture of an eagle
A work in progress at the time of writing this, this is being produced for a community hub in Melbourne, and is dedicated to Bunjil the Eagle, a prominent creation figure found in a number of First Nations belief systems in Victoria and the south west of New South Wales.
As part of my 9-5 job, I’ve rolled out a Cultural Competency program, based in the history and culture of Australia’s First Peoples. We’re now rolling it out across the board as a commercial offering, geared towards producing new opportunities in First Peoples employment and education.
Board Game Design
Another obsession has developed – I’ve fallen in love with board games. So much so that I am now developing my first game as part of my new brand – Deadly Games. I’m looking forward to sharing more on this in my next post.
I’ve produced a pair of murals, telling the story of Sunbury and its Aboriginal history.
A personal project – I’m part of the way through making a personalised 3D version of the board game ‘Catan’. This one I find rather meditative. The board is made of resin and is coated with a primer, painted and then additional elements attached (flocking, H0 miniatures etc).
I’m teaching myself how to weave. In a previous post I showed examples of how I had taught myself to make string from plant fibres. Now I am learning how to make string bags using those fibres and other materials.
As stated in the article linked above which relates to the passing of my father, John T. Patten snr, I laid my Dad to rest via a traditional burial. He was buried upright, in the ancient manner, wrapped in a possum skin cloak. The cloak was covered in my designs, along with those by my Dad’s grandchildren. It was, I hope, the only critically personal artwork of its kind that I ever have to produce. I must also mention, that without the help of my cousin, Tiriki Onus, it’s production would never have been possible.
A recent illustration I produced was for the cover of a corporate/social plan. This will be followed up with a similarly inspired ochre painting, produced on canvas. A short film documenting its production will also be made.
One thing I am very keen do to is to kick things off with my YouTube channel, which will deal with all the above, as well as regular road trips and history. It’s a bit hard to do any road trips when state borders are closed and with regular lock downs. Maybe soon..