Artist Returns after 30 years to Graduate with Honours
In December 2012, Ms Paula Hulley experienced a deep need to return to university to complete a Fine Arts honours degree.
She did just that and graduated with Honours in Fine Art: Painting.
‘I returned to UKZN after 30 years and registered as a mature student at honours level due to my painting experience as a home artist. The first time I entered UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art was a significant moment - I was very aware of the “smell” of the Art Department. It had not changed over the years – it was comforting, challenging and exciting simultaneously,’ said Hulley
‘My interest in the relationship between art and spirituality, and art and healing, allowed a natural flow to my own inner healing. My artworks became a metaphorical exploration of my inner and outer world, a journey in becoming whole again.’
Hulley’s research investigated spirituality and healing in art, exploring how elements of spirituality are viewed in art making and art therapy. ‘My focus and intention were set on illustrating how spirituality in art can be communicated in varying forms from rock art, linocuts, visual journaling and art therapy. The main thrust of the dissertation was on the healing and restorative potential of art,’ she said.
Her artwork arising from her thesis is currently on exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. The work focuses on her journey as an artist and student.
‘A series of six oil paintings depict a precious trinket jar that once belonged to my paternal grandmother. It becomes a metaphor of choice, transition and acknowledgement. It symbolises the fragmentation of life. Fragments make a whole, and the journey of life, according to author Mimi Farrelly Hansen, is about becoming whole again and again.
‘It is this wholeness that I have endeavoured to depict in these artworks – sometimes elusive, sometimes almost tangible, steeped in history and always on the horizon of one’s journey.’
Paula believes if one person reads her dissertation and sees the connection between art and healing as a potential to help them on their creative journey she would have made a substantial contribution to the Humanities.
She is also a qualified Energy Medicine practitioner and is planning on pursuing her Master’s in Fine Art.- Melissa Mungroo