Friday, June 17, 2011

Reflections On Being Faithful

Better Luck Next Time, David Turley.
When an invitation arrived in my inbox to David Turley's current exhibition at Free Range I was instantly intrigued by its title, On being faithful. I visited the exhibition today and it brought up a lot of memories for me.

I grew up in a family full of polarised views on faith. My mum's father, a Spirit filled preacher and my father's father, an atheist, and both as passionate about their belief (or lack thereof). Needless to say family events with them were always sure to be lively.

I was in hospital a lot when I was a kid and when I was about 5 plagued by night terrors of dying. This fear began a nightly ritual of mum and I saying the Lord's Prayer at bedtime, followed by a session of imagining. There was a picture on my wall (from my mum's childhood bedroom) of children running in a field with little lambs & woodland animals, mum told me that it was what heaven will look like, and every time I was afraid I was to imagine I was in that picture playing with them. I still have that picture in my bedroom now.

Growing up faith and belief seemed always to be in the foreground of family, whether it was to praise or chide it. I tended to follow in my mum's footstep's as a kid since belief in God gave me a sense of comfort and safety, not to mention the promise of woodland animals for friends in the afterlife! Also the gaping absence of God is a terrifying thing to face. For a period in my late teens I even carried a bible with me everywhere, preached to anyone who would listen (and probably many who would rather not) in genuine fear for their salvation. Then I got angry and blamed religion for every sad and miserable thing that had ever happened to those I loved, and every problem with the world today. In the last few years though there has been less anger, more reflection.

I enjoyed the exhibition On being faithful because David Turley succeeds in reflecting on an upbringing in the Christian faith with both humour and integrity. His criticisms do not descend into mockery, something I think quite rare in comments by artists on religion, and valuable since faith is so layered in memories and connections to our past and history.

On being faithful is open this weekend Saturday, 18th and Sunday, 19th June, between 2-6pm at Free Range, 339 William Street, Perth, WA.

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