Gippsland-based artist Meg Viney is influenced by Native American Culture. After living and working in North America for fifteen years, she returned to Australia and her own culture with a deep understanding of human spiritualism, particularly that so evident in tribal cultures. This remains the focus of Meg’s work.
Meg found that in Native American culture the sacred and the secular are closely linked – one informs the other. Most Native American tongues have no word for art as an independent concept - there exists a high level of unconscious affinity with Nature.
Her inspiration for this exhibition comes from the Hopi Indians who believe that they were underground dwellers, and were 'born' when a Shrike (bird with sharp beak) pecked a hole in the earth's surface and they were able to emerge. It is understood that they lived in kivas, underground dwellings which were lit by fire. In time, they also created above ground dwellings. However, the shaman (spiritual leader) remained in the kiva. A tribesperson wishing to see the shaman would descend though this hole, which, due to the fire, was smoke-filled. The descent through this SIPAPU symbolised the transition from the secular to the sacred world and emergence symbolised a new life.
Meg says, “The Sipapu became, for me, a wonderful symbol for containment, a concept central to my work. One is held and nurtured, close to Nature.”
“The first time I created a Sipapu' was in the 1980's. Over the ensuing years, I have dipped into this form in one way or another. It is now time to express it as an installation, with multiple media and a variety of scale.”
Meg’s work is also influenced by Japanese culture, with the belief that all materials have an essence, which it is the artist's task to bring, in almost a meditative way, into existence, akin to a midwife ensuring the safe emergence of a child.
One of the materials Meg used in creating the works for this exhibition is Shibori. She says, “Shibori is the Japanese art of dyeing with a traditional Indigo bath, achieving pattern and design via a variety of techniques, with the attendant 'accidental' changes that are an integral part of Shibori.”
“Whilst these two cultures are very different, both have a strong affinity with Nature, treating it with a certain reverence that captivates my aesthetic sensibility.”
Cotton thread over pine needles, Base-silk, and feather
18 x 16 x 16cm
Courtesy the artist
Venue: Maffra Exhibition Space
Gallery Exhibition (Maffra) - Meg Viney - Sipapu: A Cultural Form