Rachel Joy
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Aria Lepidoptera
Aria Lepidoptera is a celebration of the beauty of light, space and architecture. The 9m x 9m mural consists of hundreds of yellow paper butterflies pasted onto the glass panels of the art deco feature window and surrounding walls of the Courthouse Arts building in Geelong. As the viewer proceeds upstairs from the lower level entrance they come across first one, then two or three common yellow butterflies. However, as they continue their journey their attention is drawn upwards into the maelstrom of butterflies that appear to whirl out of the glass and up and out into the surrounding space.

This magnificent window is like the rose window of a cathedral in that it captures and radiates both colour and light in a spectacular celebration of creation. When the sun pours in through this mural, bathing the interior of the building in golden light, it is indeed a “religious” experience. Aria Lepidoptera was created specifically for the window of the Courthouse Arts building, responding to the particular spatial qualities of the architecture. It celebrates the architecture and the creative endeavors of those the building now houses. Historically, the building was a place of judgement, restriction and penalty but now it fosters creativity, freedom and risk. The choice of the common yellow butterfly local to the area expresses the idea that the courthouse is accessible to all. More than that, the butterflies suggest the possibility, hope and wonder alive in us all when we take creative risks. Finally, the lifespan of both butterflies and paste-up murals is short. In making an ephemeral work such as this one I am acknowledging the cyclical nature of life, which contains for me a sense of urgency to make the most of every minute, coupled with the necessity to “stop and smell the roses.”

Aria Lepidoptera is a love song to beauty and creative risk. It is my gift to the city I grew up in.
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