THE STORY OF GUNDUY BY KAT BELL
Artist, Writer & Maker of Many Things
Gudjula & Girramay Woman
Sometimes I'm a little quirky...
I am an Australian First Nation Artist & Writer based in the Riverland, South Australia. I hail from North Queensland (my people and culture are Gudjula and Girramay) and I draw a lot of my inspiration from my culture, people's stories, and experiences.
Creating, crafting, arting, making...whatever you want to call it...it's my life. I live and breathe creativity 24/7. I've been creating for as long as I can remember, but it has not always been my primary career focus. For far too many years I followed a rather taxing management career. The fruits of my labour in that life were things that ultimately cost me my health and my sense of self. It took me a long time to rediscover my love of art and to fully understand its importance in my life and that it was not just a hobby, it was my core, what I was meant to be doing. Finding my path again, I now pursue my art practice full time from my little backyard shed in regional South Australia. From here I experiment with painting, illustrating, digital media, weaving, embroidery, crochet, creative writing, and much much more. The imagination knows no limits.
At my side is often 1 very chatty companion: my fat dog (an overweight chihuahua). I am also accompanied by a curious long neck turtle named Toots, who is super cute. On occasion, I am visited by my loving husband and my wonderful son, and my sons chihuahua Rocky, who are quickly ushered out of my space by my fat dog (who sees me as his 'hooman').
My artistic practice is an ongoing exploration, unfolding, intertwining tale of my Aboriginal cultures, stories, and experiences along with all the wonderful, inspiring, and intriguing things that venture into my life. I've lived a life of many journeys taken across our beautiful planet to far away and nearby places. These journeys feed my imagination and from them I create.
Exhibitions are an important part of my practice, where I showcase new works, stories, moments, and get to create some fun installations. I have done many solo exhibitions in various locations in SA and I've joined others on this journey. It's been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but each twist and turn brings with it more opportunities to create and share stories with others.
I love to write. With that a lot of my artworks encompass written pieces. Often these are my favourite parts of my artworks. Over time I will find ways to incorporate my writing more prominently and overtly in my artworks. I see the written parts as key to my storytelling style. I like to be a little obtuse in the meaning of my artworks in there physical presentation and let the written accompaniments reveal their deeper meanings.
I'm not a brilliant artist or writer, let's just own that. But, I am a passionate artist and writer. I love what I do and I do it with love. Stories are the bedrock of my being and being able to share them with others is essential to who I am and the journey that I am on. I have lived a long life, one full of adventures, turmoil and hardships. But, amongst the hardships has been love, lots of love. I am grateful for the love that comes into my life and those that stay with me.
My most recent exhibition "Threads" has been a major milestone in my storyline. It has been the culmination of many years of working through my past trauma as I continue my healing journey. It is a story within a story within many stories. It is the catalyst to my healing journey. It is the collection of many difficult and heartfelt thoughts, memories and dreams packaged into a vibrant colourful playful showcase of artworks that delve into dark parts of my past. I have been blessed to be able to bring such an important body of work to the public and to share my stories in this way with so many people. I have been honoured to open up narratives and important conversations about the lived experiences with trauma and PTSD. It has allowed those conversations to be held in a safe space, in a safe way amongst others that share in the trauma journey. For me, presenting this body of work at this point in my life was the right time. I am stronger and confident in my creative journey more now than I have ever been, because I have shared this story and others have received it with open arms. The warm embrace of an open audience, willing to hear different perspectives and share in their own stories, has been the most fulfilling part of this journey.
The next stage of my journey is in the moving images and film space. I've been thinking about film for quite some time. It is the obvious path to take for a storyteller in our times. Film, whether it be fiction, documentary, animation, or any other form of film, holds so much potential to reach people and to have my stories told and heard by many. I love bringing my art and stories to life through moving images. In October 2022 I was blessed to take part in the Adelaide Film Festival Expand Lab. The inaugural AFF EXPAND Lab brought together 30 of Australia’s most daring artists and creative thinkers for a development lab and commissioning process to foster new ideas for moving image artworks. A collaboration between the Adelaide Film Festival, Samstag Museum of Art , The Art Gallery of South Australia and Illuminate Adelaide. and supported by the The Balnaves Foundation, and Arts South Australia
I met some amazing creative/film industry people.
Stay tuned though for more about me as my creative journey takes twists and turns in many different ways. I will now and then add to my story through my blog at https://www.gunduybykatbell.com/blog
and my Instagram page @
I look forward to continuing this creative journey.
SUPPORT MY PRACTICE
Would you like to support me?
Reaching out to others in times of need is difficult. But here is where I put aside all pride and allow others to help out if they wish and are able to. Why is your support needed? Well, simply put, my art is my only source of income. It is how I eat, gain essential health care and am able to continue creating my art. With your support I can not only live, I can buy the resources to continue to make the art that you enjoy. If you wish to support my creative endeavours you can contribute whatever amount feels right for you. With hand on heart I thank you for your support.