Life’s road trip recorded

Artist Xiang Li with her painting, which was inspired by the rocky landscape of The Breakaways near Coober Pedy. 228446_01

By Alesha Capone

Werribee South artist Xiang Li’s first solo exhibition features works inspired by a 5000-kilometre road trip she took from Melbourne to Uluru last year.

Li, who suffers from depression and anxiety, said she started painting in 2018 and “absolutely loved it”.

She said she used art as emotional therapy and a tool to express how she interprets the world.

Her exhibition is titled Red Dust, after the dirt that her car collected during her 12-day drive to Uluru and back.

Li said she brought a 2003 Honda, which she dubbed Wall-E – after the Pixar film character – especially for the journey.

“He was a shopping car, the previous owners had used him for shopping, now he is an adventure car,” she said.

Li said her trip was filled with adventures – from the time she accidentally locked herself out of the car during a sandstorm to staying at a vineyard which had recently burned down, where the owner had started adopting street cats.

She said she especially enjoyed visiting Coober Pedy in South Australia, which inspired much of her artwork.

“Coober Pedy feels like a different country in the desert,” she said

“People are living underground, it’s like something out of a fairytale.”

Li said that she “almost gave up” on her trip after falling sick from drinking tap water which did not agree with her, but she decided to keep going because seeing Uluru was one of her long-held goals.

“Life is just like a road trip, and it is never about the destination,” she said.

“It is about the people we met and the experience we had”.

Li, who works in the disability sector, is now studying her fourth masters degree, a master of art therapy with La Trobe University.

She wants to use art to help other people with mental illnesses and who have experienced trauma.

The exhibition, supported by Brimbank council, is on show at the Hunt Club Community & Arts Centre in Deer Park until March 11.