Lauryn Arnott’s love of history and her drawing abilities earned her, the international art prize, the 2006 Association of Commonwealth Universities Art Prize in a competition titled “...a place in the world” , with her drawing titled Journey Home awarded by Nobel laureate author, John Coetzee.
Lauryn was born in Kitwe, (Northern Rhodesia) Zambia. Her childhood was divided between Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, and later Zimbabwe, where she first hand saw the consequences of Colonial conflicts and its transitions. This made her feel like a foreigner ….. ’ At birth I was damned with the weight of guilt and complicity; if I did something about my position, others alienated me, if I did nothing I was being wicked within a wicked system. It was a case of being born the wrong or the right colour or being born in the wrong or the right time.'
Lauryn belongs to a generation of artists challenged by a questioning of ‘Western Patriarchal’ artistic monopoly. Her work focuses on the debates of post-colonialism, fostering cross - cultural integration, refugees and globalisation. Given these thematic trajectories, she draws upon her own intercultural experience to explore notions of mobility, whilst harnessing, then releasing, memories that cut across boundaries of culture, history and politics.
In 2003 she fled Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and arrived in Australia. As a refugee from political difficulties, her work, as highlighted in her drawing the Journey Home, reflects a deep understanding of the complexities of cultural acclimatisation and the need to adapt flexible approaches to living in different contexts.
"There is something about the sensibility of being foreign, a feeling of not being accepted or acceptable, which is most apparent when, as a woman, you arrive in the strange world of art where most of the citizens are men and where the fate of women has not been settled. As a white African, you are perceived as separate from your place of birth and the country of your origin. So, sometimes you are a double outsider, moving between one or two or several places at once. As an artist I draw from this position of uncertainty as I find it to be a great source of creative inspiration and symbolic wealth." …… Lauryn Arnott