I had the wonderful privilege of a Bundanon Residency during May 14-20. The setting is beautiful and very inspiring for work, and I also had a lovely time sharing a living space with Lucille Martin.

Brief history: Bundanon was most famous as the homeplace of Arthur Boyd.

By far the biggest breakthrough I had during my time at Bundanon was a) the realisation that trauma underpinned my work and b) it needed greater discussion from myself in order to make my work more genuine.

This realisation was both freeing and frightening. Freeing because there was a sense of self-affirmation, but frightening because of the vulnerability trauma invokes.

Work rooted within trauma can be cathartic. It can be a way of building resilience through offering a method of channelling past pain, and also as a way of making sense of trauma and re-integrating it with present reality. An interesting quote I read recently about trauma noted the distortions of identity caused when past trauma intrudes onto the present.

On the other hand, it also runs the risk of re-traumatising when someone dives too deeply, too soon. Discussing past trauma can trigger all sorts of emotions and flashbacks. Then there’s constant questions regarding the amount of disclosure – is this too much? Am I oversharing? How are people going to see me?

So, it is a fine line – much like a tightrope walker, carefully navigating the past and finding the balance between disclosure and self.