2021 Shortlisted

Katherine Williams – Vermilion Blues

By June 16, 2021 No Comments

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Vermilion Blues

Living in Newcastle, the traumatic events of 2020 seemed always to hover at the horizon. In January the air was thick with blue and poisonous smoke but the vermillion storms of flame I imagined out there never descended, and my home did not burn down. Then murmurs of a virus in China became loud cries as February raced into March, and the world fought to smother the horror of COVID-19. But chemical hands and locked-down lifeworlds never halted my daily rituals, and through all the masks I continued to breathe.

But the world was about to erupt. The Black Lives Matter movement, catalysed by a suffocated outrage exploded into life on a global stage. And with a similar energy, soon after the women’s rights movement inspired generations to action. The underlying sense of anger that I’d been carrying around for weeks, months or even years turned into a fury I was unable to contain.

And so I took to the streets, and marched and raged. But each dawn, as always, I would drift to the ocean and enter the wild blue with others like me, seeking, like me, relief. My camera became an uncanny lens to our shared visits to the edge, and these images reflect our surreal experience — making the known unfamiliar, at times beautiful, at others unsettling. They are memories, like strange dreams, leaving me braced for a future of unimaginable trials.

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