Self-portrait a journey of healing

Self-portrait a journey of healing

Margate artist Monica Rose Batiste had not intended to display the deeply personal self-portrait she spent months painting, let alone enter it into Australia’s oldest portrait award - the Archibald prize.

But enter it she did, taking the portrait on a cathartic journey from Brisbane with stops at Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains to see family and friends.

On the day of delivery, Batiste walked it across the Domain before finding her way to the rear of the National Gallery of NSW and the packing room where entries are received.

“As we drove into the city, I was so nervous,” Batiste recalls.

“I have entered a few times through a courier – this is the first time I have taken my painting myself.

“It was nice to be in the packing room – everybody’s painting gets turned to the wall.”

Batiste began the portrait as part of her journey of healing from depression.

“I painted it last year based on my experiences– I was never really going to display it – it was just for me.

“It took months, I would put it aside and then work on it again. I cried a lot.”

Courageous entry

Then Batiste wrote a piece about what depression feels like, which ultimately became the statement that accompanied her Archibald entry.

“The more we share, the more connected we become and right now it feels like connection is important,” she says.

“I want to be brave and share my truth so other women feel okay to.

“The more we are true to who we are, to ourselves, the more community we become.”

A sense of community is important to Batiste, who teaches yoga by the beach at Margate.

The pace is a far cry from her previous life as a fitness instructor at a gym and has helped her deal with her depression.

“I ended up teaching yoga because of depression – I was a fitness instructor but developed chronic fatigue,” Batiste says.

“I wanted to keep working so I became a yoga teacher - yoga turned out to be a very good healer and helped create the community that I would not have had otherwise - I never made friends at the gym.”

Now in its 100th year, the Archibald is Australia’s oldest portrait award, with winners announced on June 4.

Read more local news here.

Are you #MoretonBayTough?

Pledge your commitment to support local, spread kindness and show you're Moreton Bay Tough

Sign the Pledge for Free!

State honour for region’s stars

Seven players have joined the Hockey Queensland Hall of Fame - two from the Moreton Bay Region and one who started playing at Redcliffe. Read More

Dolphins NRL bid: We did it!

It’s now official … the Dolphins will be the NRL’s 17th team. The ARL Commission has just announced the news following an exhaustive bid process and grassroots community campaign to bring a team to the Moreton Bay Region. Read More

Join the Conversation

We might be spending most of our time indoors, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay silent – stay connected!

#MoretonBayTough Facebook Group   Sign The Pledge