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Helen Fraser

My art practice involves transforming and integrating past and present textile traditions from around the world with the aim of inspiring acceptance of our individual and shared humanity. Using textiles as a metaphor for the human condition I look closely at a textile and then draw and/or paint it, moving it into a new form. On reflection, I now realise that I am blending different traditions from different time periods or countries, a sort of melding and stitching together of many aspects of culture and psychology. This process literally performs an act of transformation. Transformation is at the heart of what I stand for as a person, artist and Psychologist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in private practice in Prahran, Melbourne, Australia. Therefore, in my work you will often see themes and motifs such as threads, fragments, frayed edges, tassels, weaving, knitting, stitching, knots; all representing aspects of healing, recovery and self-understanding as we pull threads back into a whole after trauma or loss or untie the binds that are too enmeshed in certain key relationships. As the musician Nina Simone so aptly said “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times – that to me is the definition of an artist”. I see it as my responsibility to use my personal and professional experiences and complexity to make art that responds to the current psychological, political, cultural and spiritual climate. I hope that my art will inspire people to think more deeply about their inner world including pain, fragmentation, loss and to more deeply accept their own complexity as human beings. If this could help move others towards greater self-love and acceptance, then the work has done its job. I believe that if we can think about, understand and process feelings of hate, rage, anger, frustration, entitlement, abandonment and sorrow then we go a long way to stopping these from being enacted in relationships or projected onto others or groups as we see happening in the political arena at this time.

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