Lauryn Arnott’s love of history and her drawing abilities earned her, the international 2006 Association of Commonwealth Universities Art Prize in a competition titled “...a place in the world”, with her drawing titled Journey Home. She is passionate about ideas surrounding the body, home and history, and has a longstanding engagement through artworks and workshops on gender, identity, mobility, migration and women’s colonial stories….
Mobility was central to the Colonial story. There is as name to describe people whose early developmental years are formed within a culture different to that of their parents or their country of nationality, Third Culture Kids, and if you aren’t already part of this new clan, give your family tree a generation or two.
Arnott was a Third Culture Kid, her ancestors were Scottish, she was born in Northern Rhodesia during British rule. Her childhood was set against the backdrop of wars of liberation from British rule. Without choice, she was positioned between her birthright as an African and her separation from it because of British colonialism. Starting with her formative high school and art school years in South Africa, she experienced the transitions from Apartheid to post-Apartheid and later lost her home during Mugabe’s violent regime in Zimbabwe before migrating to Australia. As an art student she knew that she needed to serve and be part of the solution, to develop her strengths to rise up and meet the challenge of serving others who lived during a challenging history…. winning an international award for the Journey Home drawing, is a testament to this.
In Australia she had to cultivate her own renaissance after losing her home, her farm and her country, Zimbabwe. She used her experience and deep understanding of the complexities of cultural acclimatisation and the need to adopt flexible approaches to make artistic statements as well as working alongside diverse cultures in different contexts. This generated a whole new body of work and new career paths as an artist and cultural worker,
An example of her work …. using Autoethnographic themes like in Journey Home drawing, Arnott applied a process of using drawing and erasure, like her history, a contested surface … with which to refigure the constant shifts of temporality, encompassing the boundaries of self and placemaking to a (hi)story that was larger than she is.
"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."