The immortal now : visualizing the place where spirituality and today’s families meet

Peitsch, Flossie (2006) The immortal now : visualizing the place where spirituality and today’s families meet. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


There is a keen interest in spirituality today - a new search for meaning. As Tacey (2003, p.2) comments; “We are caught in a difficult moment in history, stuck between a secular system we have out-grown, and a religious system we cannot fully embrace. “Clearly, a spirituality exists in Australia that is no longer associated with religion.” I believe the starting point for this spirituality is in the everyday. Evidence of spirituality exists in families, a microcosm of society, and in family homes. This is where life’s ultimate questions seem to be answered – Who am I? Where am I? Why am I here? As a visual artist doing a Creative PhD, my thesis follows my own journey as an immigrant finding place and space, which I call ‘splace’, in Australia. Being a mother, I have attempted to locate my children in a community and religious landscape foreign to me. The resulting fine art exhibition at Span Galleries, Melbourne, uses the familiar geography of the church building as a framework to explore aspects of spirituality in four galleries named: VIRTUAL NARTHEX - The spiritual self’s recognition of self CHAPEL – the spiritual self’s space/place within the family NAVE – the spiritual self’s relationship to community SANCTUARY – the spiritual self’s life journey ‘from here to eternity’ The concurrent community art exhibition, ‘CHISHOLM’S HOMES: Shaking Down the Miracle’, at the Migration Museum, Adelaide, augments the chosen themes and their creative processes. My art as visual theology, places spirituality within the grasp of the everyday, a holy pilgrimage through the ever changing, ever challenging passage called ‘family’. Using installation, it incorporates fabric, found objects, wood, styrofoam, tapestry, text, movement, digital composition and soundscape, to deconstruct fixed, preconceived family and spiritual references. September 11th has increased a fear of other cultures. There has never been a better time to globally effect much more than tolerance but to reflect common values and visions; discovering a universal search for meaning as transferred through families and community. Beyond imagery and words, I explore the expression of spirituality in building a harmonious multicultural society. To me, all this is the art of seeking the immortal now.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Keywords visual art, installations, spirituality, multiculturalism, Australia, immigration
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