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Artist’s notes on belonging Powell, Gailene Yvonne

Abstract

This multi-sensory arts-based research paper is founded upon twelve different 18" x 18" oil paintings, mostly of the natural world, each symbolically representing one of a variety of aspects of the concept of belonging. Painted over a period of a year, the paintings include landscapes, water, close ups of flowers and birds, a child, and a village. Using the artistic strategy of bricolage, this (re)search method uses a writing-transformative context, capturing a polyphonous voice. With the paintings as a catalyst, this comprehensive paper explores belonging through many different lenses. The concept of belonging is examined extensively including research across many disciplines, current literature, fiction, non fiction, articles and poetry. It is also explored through personal narrative including memories, reflections, thoughts and experiences as a child, a family member, an artist and as a high school art teacher. Both belonging and not belonging are discussed through a sequence of sub sets, each coupled with a painting: belonging and attachment to a partner, to a home, to an extended family, to a school, to a group, to a culture, to places, to a genealogy, to nature, to a sense of mystery, and to the divine. Twelve aspects of belonging are explored in sequence in separate sections of the thesis, with ideas and commentary interspersed in a non-linear fashion with research, prose excerpts and poetry within each section. How do we belong? To whom and to what and where do we belong? Why is it that at times we do not belong? This scholarly paper examines aspects of belonging including research and ruminations about our attachment to one another and our place in this world.

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