“Wonder is a rare, awe inspiring moment outside our everyday experiences which generates a profound, sometimes transformative impression on the way we perceive the world. As children we often experience wonder by considering and learning the environment around us but as we get older we lose these moments. Mel Eden’s artistic practice investigates how we experience wonder, both individually and collectively, as children and adults, to remind us of the value that it can bring to our psychology, imagination and sense of self.” – Elyse Goldfinch Curator.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” John Dewey.
When I think of education today a lot of uncomfortable feelings churn in my stomach. Thoughts like “I don’t want to be part of the problem I want to be part of the solution” come to mind. I’ve noticed more and more humanitarian based philosophies are jump-starting alternative schools. Still, I am disappointed that holistic education isn’t available to the masses and that our public education system still places preference on intellectual achievement over social-emotional wellbeing.
There was a moment in my life where I felt like I didn’t fit. I didn’t fit at all. And everything I thought I was didn’t seem to matter. Skip six months or so down the beaten track to a secluded beach on the Mediterranean and became ignited with life.
I began to question how to live a life of meaning.
I discovered mental health/wellbeing, community and autonomous experiential learning were the foundations for me.
Having a history of mental health trauma within my family a journey into the practise of mindfulness and its implications and embodiment in my art practise has had a profound influence over me. It’s led me to focus my energies on work that is born out of ‘presence’ and ‘intuitiveness’ connecting with the environment surrounding me and improvising with its elements. As a multi-disciplinary artist and Buddhist I see myself as an integral part of the universal network that deciphers the state in which all beings are experiencing. I take art as my responsibility for contributing to the inner transformation of all human beings.
I have begun to create works focusing on group facilitation, the act and sharing of, and the observation of ‘self’ as a relational being. I aim to foster empathy and create new connections and communities by allowing new forms of self-expression to prosper, encouraging interpersonal diversity, and advocating experiential means of education as a provocateur for social change.
This residency at Culture At Work has allowed me to integrate my own personal research into different methodologies of self-inquiry; my studies at Melbourne Institute of Experiential Learning and Creative Arts Therapy, sound and physical theatre improvisation, and meditation and mindfulness practise.
This is the first time I’ve been able to do this work with kids and practise what I’ve dreamed of. I feel that experience alone has been fulfilling and inspirational. I’ve reconstituted the way in which I perceive myself as an artist/facilitator and merged the two roles. I’ve had the opportunity to re-contextualise myself within an art gallery format. Culture At Work has given me just enough space to exceed my limits whilst still providing me the support I need to generate confidence within myself.
WONDER FULL Melanie Eden brings her talent to PYRMONT – and is being curated by a young upcoming Elyse Goldfinch who works at Culture at Work, the MCA and National Art School.
Young performance artist Mel Eden has been making friends with the local Pyrmont Community.
A talented singer, actor and performance artist who has taken a one woman show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, been an active member of PACT and the Cargo Collective
and trained at the Institute of Music, and currently a resident artist at Culture at Work.