Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Witch of Kings Cross

I have just finished reading a rather fascinating biography about Rosaleen Norton, the so-called 'witch of kings cross', by Nevill Drury. A really interesting and well written view into the life of a often misunderstood woman far ahead of her time in regards to her views towards art, religion and witchcraft.
Australia at this time (1950's) had a rather prudish mentality and was in no way as tolerant and culturally diverse as it is today. Rosaleen's rather risque paintings shocked the general public and she was, more than once, taken to court on obscenity charges.

"In a sense we can say that Rosaleen was a feminist in a time when there were no feminists. A witch at a time when Witchcraft was still widely misunderstood. More than anything else, she was a free spirit, an independent venturer in the magical cosmos. Her visions of the night - those eerie phantasms which haunted her imagination and opened doorways to other realms of mythic consciousness - serve as a reminder that there are always greater realities in the universe which we can acknowledge and explore." - Nevill Drury


  1. Cool post Nadia, I've been fascinated with Rosaleen for a while...I'll have to see if I can get hold of this book to read her story. I actually have a copy of her drawings with poetry by her partner at the time...I think it's the book that was banned?! I often wonder what would have happened if she and Vali Myers had ever met...whether they would have seen each other as kindred spirits, or hated each other! I find so many similarities in their artwork though, and in their free spirited refusal to buckle under pressure to fit the expected roles for women of their time.

  2. Yes! Poetry by Gavin Greenlees? I don't think they banned the book, but blacked out some of the more controversial paintings. But i think because of all the scandal the publisher went broke so there weren't many copies anyway. I think he reprinted many years later though.
    And yes, I wonder?? I reckon there was part of them that like being unique so sharing the limelight may not have appealed. But then, they may have been the closest of friends, who knows? I found the book at the library so it's around. Not what I was expecting at all, glad I read it.

  3. This has nothing to do with this actual post but I must say how happy I am that you've got a blog. I was introduced to your work a few years back on the Endicott Studio website and visited your website. I love your work and I find so many of my own interests echoed here...female surrealists and gypsy culture. Thank you for sharing yourself here! And with great other artist's links also... :)


  4. Thanks Hilary! Good old Endicott Studio, Twas a fabulous blog :)

  5. Ahhh, the Endicott! I was a fan for ages and was so sad when they closed it. Then I discovered Terri's beautiful blog and through her many, many other wonderful's what inspired me to start my own.