What happens when the tables are turned?
by Valerie Khoo
Recently, I was interviewed by a journalist. They are writing an article about my various creative pursuits and, I have to admit, it was really weird being on the other side of the fence. I was previously a full-time journalist for many years and am so used to being the one asking all the questions. So when the tables are turned, it’s challenging!
One of the questions he asked me was what my experience was as a young child growing up in a migrant family – my parents moved to Sydney from Singapore when I was four. I’m not sure if he was surprised by my answer but I answered honestly: “It was wonderful.”
I told him about the idyllic childhood I had growing up in the Sutherland Shire and that the racism that you read so much about these days in the media didn’t seem to be part of my world. Of course, I was looking through the eyes of a young child at the time. But that child grew up and the experience has been the same.
I also admitted to him that perhaps I simply look at the world through blinkers or rose coloured glasses. Maybe I delude myself about the world around me. Or maybe this is actually my reality, my own lived experience. I don’t actually know for sure.
What I DO know is that we live in a world that can be challenging – for a whole host of reasons. So when it comes to my own creative expression I don’t feel the need to add to that.
So I make a conscious effort to underpin my artwork with positivity, joy and beauty. And that’s probably why I paint large-scale floral blooms, so that energy can burst into a room and fill it with positivity. Here is the latest to come off my easel “The Tulips Are Too Excitable”, with the line from Sylvia Plath’s poem. 102cm (W) x 102cm (H).
In my garden
With spring now sprung, my garden is going bonkers. And, fortunately, it’s providing a lot of creative inspiration with all the new blooms around every corner. I’ve even been enticed to make a couple of videos. Yes, I started a YouTube channel! I’ll never be Steven Spielberg but it’s one way for me to give you a peek behind the paintings (and my garden). The first two are online here: