Sieglinde Battley

By the afternoon we anxiously scan the horizon
for a place to pitch our tent and spend the night.

B remembers somewhere a little further along –
BARAMBIE, an abandoned sheep & cattle station.

The homestead and outbuildings are gone;
all that remain are a windmill, water tanks
and troughs in disrepair.

Stunted, twisted mulga trees in the distance
Look like Japanese Bonsais in this vast space.

Rocky outcrops (known locally as breakaways)
turn golden, pink and mauve as the sun drops down
below the horizon, making way for a huge orange moon.
Vast mobs of kangaroos swarm across the home paddock,
come for their evening drink.

Velvety night falls and I walk through an endless valley
filled with rustling, whispering bush noises,
Bonzo the dog by my side, under a canopy of stars.

Sieglinde was born in the town of Gumbinnen in East Prussia, which at that time was part of Germany and is now called Gusev and belongs to Russia. Most of my childhood and my early adult years I lived in Frankfurt am Main in Germany, where I was trained as a graphic designer. I lived and worked in Norway, Indonesia and Iran before settling in Australia in 1978.

I paint what I see, hear, feel and think every day and at night. I make up stories about this concoction and put it on paper and canvas. I often depict animals in my paintings because they live where I live. These creatures end up sharing the idiosyncrasies of friends, family, business associates and neighbours and they become symbols of my own fears, hopes and desires as well. Often I am surprised what looks back at me from my canvas. These accidents I love most because they might not be so accidental after all. -Sieglinde Battley