Kat Bell

She neatly and carefully packed all the tensions, stresses, anxieties, pains, nightmares and fears from her past into her red suitcase.

She had carried this suitcase far, long and wide across rugged plains, broad field, deep forests and mossy mountain ranges. For a long time it had been her sole companion on many dark nights. It had borne witness to her suffering. It had carried many of the trappings of her darkest experiences. It had experienced the same rough treatments she often went through. It was always packed lightly with her favourite pair of blue jeans, 2 vintage tees that she’d picked up at an op shop on one of her many walks, a few feminine briefs that were now thread bear, a necklace gifted to her long ago that no longer held special meaning and a scrapbook of memories photos, letters, small items collected along the way and many notes scribbled in the dark.

Now she would replace those items with a package full of unwanted, burdensome, and long held things. These things: metaphors, ideas, feelings, experiences, lessons, and dreams, had been with her on her life’s journey for far too long now.

“It was time” she thought. Time to take a new path. Time to find the one. The one thing that truly mattered. The one person that meant something. That one person she had lost long ago. It was time to start a new journey. It was time to say goodbye to all those things that had held her back.

She knew this was the only way. She wrapped each item up into little parcels, thanked them for the lessons they taught her. Forgave those that had harmed her. Said farewell to those that had not met her expectations. Let go of expectations. She took each parcel and placed them into the suitcase. The suitcase was now a symbol of the past and all that she was not.

She closed the suitcase, firmly sealing in the things. She looked up to the spirits of her ancestors, called out to them to set her free, so that she could once again be.

As the storm swirled around her, the rain poured down, thunder boomed and lighting cracked and she was now ready to find her. “It is time” she said. Her new journey begins. She would no longer be unsure, no longer be afraid, no longer be confused. For she had finally found the one she lost. She pulled back the strands of her long hair from her eyes. Eyes now wide open, she could see that one person that mattered, that one person she needed, that one person she’d lost. She looked in the mirror and said “hello”.


This sculptural piece has been created using textiles and yarns, sewn, embroidered to form the protagonist of this story. The figure is crouched over her red suitcase, packing away the things from her past that she must say goodbye to in order to find herself and say hello to a new her, a new beginning, a new life.

The item I received was the red suitcase. Originally I’d considered creating something that was more about travel (that seemed like the obvious thing to do with a suitcase). But as I pondered the topic further it became more important for me to draw on something I’d experienced myself. That sense of loss of self, of ones identity and the impact of trauma of the past. With that, the suitcase became more of a symbol of that journey of loss of self to finally letting go of the past to be able to find oneself again.

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Not for sale.

As an Australian Aboriginal (Gudjula and Girrimay) artist, designer and maker of things I am passionate, obsessed and slightly crazy about everything creative. Seriously, I live, eat, breathe, dream creativity 24/7.

In my tiny backyard studio in Riverland SA I immerse myself in creative endeavours: exploring, designing, creating and dreaming of the many wonderful things I can share with the world.  I work in a myriad of artforms and materials, creating paintings, drawings, illustrations, sculptures, artdolls, animation, jewellery, clothing, and really anything that my mind can conjure up.

I am very fortunate to have lived, worked and traveled throughout many parts of Australia, Africa, Europe and South America in my 40 odd decades of existence on our beautiful little planet.  In this time I have been exposed to many cultural and artistic experiences. My greatest sources of creative inspiration comes from my Gudjula and Girrimay cultures as well as the native indian cultures of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina (such as the Cayuava, Chipaya, Pacahuar, Itonama and Tiahuanaco Indians, Aonikenk, Qom, Wichi, Harte, Mapuche and Guarani and many others). I am drawn to and inspired by their myriad of beautiful and amazing artforms and traditions. Much of my work embodies at least some aspects of these various cultures and experiences.

Join me in my creative journey while I divulge and expose the deepest parts of my soul through art, design, the written word and all the other creative adventures I go on.


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