Serenity, Now

Painting Mindfulness

The time is now, declares Nell’s painting. Time to awaken to the present moment, time to awaken to enlightenment. Nell (1975-), an artist who is known only by her first name, invokes the spiritual traditions of Buddhism in her multi-disciplinary works. She works across immersive installations, paintings, ceramics, mosaics, neon light works and music videos to communicate the many things that bring her joy – whether that be opening herself to the practice of Buddhist meditation or rocking out to the rampant energy of AC/DC. The stark differences between these two activities is not lost on Nell. Her work is very much about marrying the tensions between binary positions and exploring the thresholds between things which seem to be opposites.

As a sixteen-year-old growing up in the regional centre of Maitland, Nell knew she was going to be an artist and her art practice would be, as she put it, her life practice. Part of that life practice for Nell today is Buddhist meditation and the understanding of life, in all its parts, as an experience of impermanence. The egg of this painting represents that impermanence in its symbolism of regeneration and rebirth. Nell has humanised it with a cartoon face – a way of communicating clearly and directly with the widest audience possible. As Nell says, ‘you don’t have to have any education, or you can be from any culture, and age and know what a tear coming out of an eye, or a smiley face, means.’

Coupled with text calling on us to embrace the present moment, The time is NOW reminds us that the past is gone forever, the future is always ahead of us, and the only moment we can truly inhabit is now.