Patricia Abela is an Australian artist based in the Blue Mountains. Patricia studied Visual Arts at the University of Newcastle and has a Bachelor of Arts Visual Arts and a Diploma of Visual Arts (winning the Jean Wright Memorial Scholarship). She also has a Diploma of Education through the University of Western Sydney.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am of Maltese descent and first generation Australian. My parents were market gardeners that immigrated from Malta to Australia in the mid 1960’s. I grew up in a market garden in Australia and enjoy gardening as a hobby. I find the Australian bushland incredibly inspiring as it is unique and different in so many parts of Australia. I have a passion for the environment and my art practice reflects what is happening to some of the flora and flora that is endangered or threatened in the world.
2) Tell us a bit about your art practice and what inspires you.
I am inspired by nature,art and community coming together to make a positive difference and environmental change in the world.
3) What do you hope to achieve with your residency in Malta?
I hope to connect with the Maltese community and visually impaired participants by creating an installation that utilises traditional and contemporary weaving techniques. I am hoping to be able to share my skills and knowledge and then develop my ideas further whilst on residency. I look forward to being able to view the installation on exhibition at the Valletta Design Cluster and share and celebrate the achievements of those who participated in the workshops. My hope is to create new friendships and connections to my Maltese heritage and to help inspire the Maltese community to see how important working together is for environmental change and sustainability.
Her artwork is highly responsive to the sublime beauty of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park and its fragility. Patricia explores the concepts of the transient nature of life and the permanence of death using natural materials and found objects. This transition from life to death is represented in sculptural forms and drawings that embody strength and a spiritual power. The natural materials are a symbol of the impermanence of life.
The practice of knotting by Patricia is a reflection of traditional practices in the South Pacific of forming objects by hand through materials found in the environment.
This tradition is melded with Western concepts of scale and form to create objects both familiar and unknowable. It balances both ephemerality and permanence. A teacher of art and studies, Patricia has facilitated art projects in Vanuatu. She is the founder and director of the Vanuatu Art Project (VAP).