From my youngest days I sensed the way we treat our natural home is wrong and what we are doing cannot continue. It has fed the intuitive ‘North Star’ for my life of making the world a better place.
As a kid I disappeared for hours into the bushland near our house, immersed in exploring the contorted tea trees, peeling paperbarks, picking apart fallen pinecones and acorns, exploring flaky and sandy rocks, learning how different grasses feel underfoot and attuning to wind on skin. I never felt ‘alone’.
Though the urge to create is as normal to me as breathing, and I’d been enthralled by drawing and painting for as long as I remember, I was thoroughly discouraged from pursuing fine art. So, 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.
More neighbourliness. More nature. Less stuff. Less trivia. More care. More delight.
I thought I needed to keep the threads of art and activism separate. I came to the realisation that for me they are intertwined.
Philosopher Joanna Macy speaks of activism in three spheres. It is in the third sphere of action that my work belongs.
“If we are to make the shift from an industrial growth society to a life-sustaining society there are three spheres of action.
Holding actions. These activities include all the political, legislative, and legal work required to reduce the destruction, as well as direct actions-blockades, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of refusal. Work of this kind buys time.
Creation of structural alternatives, the new way of doing things and organising. New ways of growing food, of measuring prosperity, new forms of education.
But these new structures cannot take root and survive unless they are deeply rooted in our values; in our belief in what is worthwhile; in our assumptions about the nature of reality. You can call this a shift in consciousness.“
Fiona Morgan is an Australian painter, writer, activist and seed saver. 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.
She is known for her uncanny ability to create works that exude the presence of the plants, creatures, and places she paints.
“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 meeting of inner worlds. The process of drawing or painting is a dive into the sea of our unconscious. 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.