In the beginning there were trees and rocks and grasses and the wind. They filled me with awe and wonder and I was so curious about how they felt and moved and lived and how they could be gently worked with.
I have always created, as long as I can remember. The urge to create is as normal to me as breathing. The land has always felt alive, like a presence. I happily spend a lot of time ‘on my own’ with plants and animals and my head is full of ideas. In that sense, not much has changed.
The ‘north star’ for my life is to make the world a better place. It’s just always been there as an intuitive and deeply felt guiding principle. Will this help the earth and her beings, or will it help more destruction?
Like many kids, and many people today, I had a distinct feeling that the way the world is run is ‘off’, the way we treat our natural home is wrong and what we are doing cannot continue. I was attracted to environmental activism from a young age but never had any confidence in the way it was being done (petitions), and couldn’t see how a difference could be made. I was watching with silent horror from the sidelines, not knowing what to do to stop the destruction going on all around me. And it seemed at the time that barely anyone else noticed or cared.
I was thoroughly discouraged from pursuing fine art. So, an Industrial Design degree, a knack with computers, an aversion to the predatory and amoral advertising industry (vomit) and a family full of pharmacists all combined to lead to a career in 3D medical modelling and animation. Think anatomy and surgery education videos for students and continuing education. Helping keep people healthy. This included medical Industrial Design, Graphic Design, digital 2D animation and web design.
Having spent over a decade working for others in the commercial art world in large cities in Australia and the UK, I was unsatisfied and as a starting point, I set out to work for myself in a smaller, friendlier location. I wanted to know my neighbours. I wanted to be part of a community. I wanted to have a garden and a dog. And I still wanted to help make the world a better place. You know, do things that matter.
Hello tree change, hello slow lifestyle, a great step in the right direction. Though the twelve hour days working on other people’s ideas still weren’t ideal.
The kick up the bum.
After the death of someone close to me, the idea that ‘this is not a dress rehearsal’ finally felt real and I finally started to answer that pesky question that had been nagging at me for years, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
Art. And make the world a better place. Of course.
We need to reconnect with nature as this is our home, with a rooted sense of place, with deep time not just our lifetime. We need to remember to listen to the heartbeat of the earth. We need to remind ourselves of the story of how we are guardians of the earth. We do not have to choose a dystopian nightmare.
How we relate to the earth and the stories we tell ourselves are powerful. Choose wisely.
Fiona Morgan is an Australian painter, writer, activist and seed saver, known for her uncanny ability to distill and convey the life essence of her subjects, often plants and animals.
Based in Bellingen NSW Australia, on Gumbaynggirr land, Morgan’s work is fed by a deeply felt sense that we are on the wrong path with how we live on the earth and that we can change our direction. Her art is influenced by the connection (or lack thereof!) between people and nature – our ‘environment’, our home; it is a call to remembering other ways.
“Slowing down, paying attention to what can’t be seen with the eyes, and connection with nature is at the heart of how I create my artworks. Each piece is created in a meditative state. A dive into the sea of our unconscious. A meeting of inner worlds. The process of drawing or painting is the conversation with who needs to be heard. And the resulting artwork exudes this meditative quality, the connection with the essence that created it. I paint with my heart, as well as my eyes.”
Fiona donates a percentage of her time to climate action, environmental and wildlife causes.
Why ‘Where Fish Sing’?
The name arrived in a dream, in answer to a question I posed.
When setting up online, it makes sense to be able be found. In looking at my name, I discovered that ‘Fiona Morgan’ isn’t particularly unique. There were two Fiona Morgan’s with the same birthdate in my town. I know this as we both attended the same GP. It made appointments rather delicate while they established which one I was. Online there were three Fiona Morgan artists in my nearest city. A Canadian photojournalist named Fiona Morgan dominated the first five pages of Google search results. It was blatantly obvious I would need another name to be found.
I asked my subconscious, my intuition, to send me a name in a dream that night.
Something that would capture the spirit of the art I was yet to create.
In the morning, I woke with the answer.