In the beginning there were trees and rocks and grasses and the wind. They filled me with awe and wonder. It was natural to me that the land felt alive, that it has presence. I have always created, as long as I can remember. The urge to create is as normal to me as breathing. I happily spend a lot of time ‘on my own’ with plants and animals and in unpeopled places. My head is full of ideas. In that sense, not much has changed.
Like many of us, especially as kids, I had a distinct feeling that the way the world is run is ‘off’. I felt the way we treat our natural home is wrong and what we are doing cannot continue.
The ‘North Star’ for my life is to make the world a better place. It’s intuitively always been there as a deeply felt guiding principle. Will this help the earth and her beings, or will it help more destruction? Which paradigm will you feed?
As I grew older I was attracted to environmental activism but never had any confidence in how I perceived it was being done – rallies and petitions. I couldn’t see how to make a difference. I was watching with silent horror from the sidelines, not knowing what to do to stop the destruction going on all around me. At the time it seemed that barely anyone else noticed or cared.
I was thoroughly discouraged from pursuing fine art.
So, what to do?
I detoured into various forms of helpful commercial art (not the advertising industry
). For over a decade, I worked in large cities in Australia and the UK before coming to the conclusion that there had to be more to life than this. 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, somehow, 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. I moved back to Australia to a rural town, got to know my neighbours, got involved in the community, found a dog and started a garden.
The kick up the bum.
After the death of someone close to me, the abstract idea that ‘this is not a dress rehearsal’ finally felt real. I started to face 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.
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.