GYV Staff during: Camp counselor – 1994 and Workshop Instructor 1999 (Crossing Cultures Through the Arts)
Education: BA & MA in Fine Arts, University of South Wales, Sydney Australia, Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts Education, University of Wollongong Australia
Most Interesting Country Visited: I think I have to say Indonesia. With 17,500 islands across the archipelago it’s a place that could have you exploring for the rest of your life (and never finish). Each island has a unique culture, which makes it so interesting.
I lived in Jakarta for 5 years so I was really fortunate to get to explore quite a lot. From the worlds most populated island of Java, with its amazing volcanoes, sacred Buddhist, Hindu and Moslem sites, remote national parks with endangered animals – its just amazing. Bali is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Flores has water so thick with fish and strange Komodo dragons and ancient tribal culture. Trekking in Papua makes you feel like you have gone back in time. And Sumatra has the thickest rainforest I have ever seen where you can sit and watch orangutans at play. The greatest aspect of Indonesia though is its people. They are the kindest, most humble and lovely people – I’ll always go back.
Favorite GYV Memory:
Anything and everything that opened your eyes to the world! Working at the GYV was a very profound experience in that it forced you to question stereotypes and prejudices and was ultimately a unique personal learning experience. Hearing people’s stories, sharing cultures, walking the ‘hill’, camping under the stars, being creative, relying on each other, making lifelong friendships, being silly and just having fun – this is how I remember my time there under those huge beautiful trees.
I grew up and studied in Australia. My mum, an outback country girl, taught my sister and I cool things like how to catch chickens and ride horses. My Dad, and Englishman who traveled the world for 20 years as a sailor, told us magical stories of adventures in far away lands. From the minute I finished my formal education at university, I was itching to set off on my own adventurous journey. GYV was my first stop. Since leaving GYV back in 1994 I was badly bitten by the travel bug and have continued to explore the world ever since.
Originally trained as an artist, I set up a gallery in London, where I exhibited my own work as well as the work of other emerging artists. During this time I also coordinated the volunteer program for Amnesty International in the UK and worked for other non-governmental organizations. Later, a trip to visit my sister in Taipei inspired me to become an art teacher in international schools. My last teaching position was in Jakarta, Indonesia, which is where I met my husband, Nor Azman Hamid. We now live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I have returned to making art and have just completed a series of work, which will be exhibited in galleries in Dubai and Singapore. My artwork is about my travels through life – my physical migration between lands and cultures, and my intellectual and spiritual journey.