'From here to there' - Roma on Bungil Gallery

Fiona Kennedy Altoft has recently returned to Australia from Hong Kong where she lived happily for nine years. When Fiona lived in Hong Kong, she mostly made figurative and portraiture pieces. During the protests and throughout the restrictions imposed on them due to Covid, she felt the need to do spontaneous works to release emotion. She needed something that was fast and furious in its execution to help her overcome the frustrations of lockdown. 

Painting continuously without pressure of subject matter forced a refocus on composition, colours and brushstrokes. Some of the pigment of vibrant rust coloured dirt and charcoal are from her hometown Roma. They speak volumes about how these works are so personal. Spontaneous, intuitive painting is for Fiona a process of release. It is such a freeing experience – the complete opposite to what she was feeling in Hong Kong. 

Fiona says that some paintings aim to be realistic, while abstract paintings take the viewer on a different journey through triggering a felt experience. Her experience of these abstract works on paper have made her reflect on her recent move from Hong Kong to Australia. Moving back home has been difficult – a process of grieving. Painting is a way of losing herself and allowing herself to feel deeply and then to forget - just for a brief moment. Fiona says it has been a cathartic, comforting experience painting these artworks and she has gained an overriding sense of joy from the process. 

Her exhibition is titled “From here to there” and tells the story of this process of coming from Hong Kong back to Australia.