My perfect day in Canberra would be sitting in my garden, viewing the breeze. Doing everything I wanted to do in a very short period and still having time to do those things that are silly, to find love, and laugh a lot.

I’m an artist and caring for and loving being around my very elderly parents. I’m a “dribbling off” parent because my children are leaving home. I love gardening and that’s probably where I get my most peace. I also like going out into the country. Sometimes I’m a girlfriend! And I’m on a disability pension.

My favourite things would be friends and family, making connections and community. Being an artist has fed me that because I do it in groups now.

The best things about Canberra are family, nature and the possibility to do things. The ability to ride my bike, if I fix it! And opportunities. I have to say that I don’t necessarily find them but there are things around.

I’m putting on this art exhibition with a fantastic group of artists. We’ve been working together now for five years. The little tag says we’re disabled but we’re not very disabled; we’re lovely people, we get on well and we have a good connection. So we’re having an art exhibition, and I’m interviewing with you now because I’m a woman and I’m looking after my health by being part of this group!

Being a woman is sometimes a feeling of strength and sisterliness; I think we give to one another a lot. Other times it means isolation and disempowerment. There’s questions about being comfortable with self, which crosses over for all sexualities.

Money is a problem for maintaining your health and wellbeing in Canberra. I have been doing what I can, but I would like to be doing something more physical. It’s easier for me to go to a gym but they’re expensive. The YMCA is great, but that’s maybe only one of two affordable places in the whole of Canberra. I think transport is difficult for some, particularly in the outer suburbs, not so much for me. I also think there is a favouritism towards those who work regular office jobs.

I think making connection in Canberra is quite hard. Unless people are really motivated then they could easily not be talking to others. There’s a shyness, and like everywhere in the world, they could just be looking at their phone.


Image created by Josey Carnovale as part of Canberra’s You Are Here festival.