For Lauryn Arnott ‘difference’ is an accident of birth, it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace- respect for the other.
Her Irish and Scottish ancestors fled the traumatic political and religious persecution of Britain to Northern Rhodesia, where she was born. Her childhood was set against the crossfire of British colonial history. Wars of liberation in which the British Empire grew through perpetuating conflict through ‘difference’ to gain power and sovereignty over land and others. Her story and her identity was shaped by her birthright as an African and her separation from it because of British Colonialism. Not responsible for her ‘accident of birth’, Arnott believes her responsibility lies in her choice to be an artist and writer who looks back to recreate her history. We know that when we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.
To rewrite her own story, is to stand in her truth rather than perpetuate the trauma of using ‘difference’ against the ‘other’ as imposed by the Empire. In this she hopes to show others a way to write their own brave new ending, as difference is the essence of humanity. Owning our stories is standing in our truth. ….
Winning the international 2006 Association of Commonwealth Universities Art Prize in a competition titled “...a place in the world” with her Journey Home drawing, is a testament to this.