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  • Writer's picture Natasha Castelijn

Looking Up

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

I grew up in Sydney and my family went to Bondi Beach each weekend in the summer. They were times of Reef sun baking oil, when then heat of the day was the time to be tanning ourselves and blistered skin was part and parcel of summer life. One time I had gone too far out and a surf lifesaver came and brought me in. I still remember his arm holding me while he easily swam back to shore. As I hadn’t raised my hand for help so I asked why he came. He said could see I wasn’t a strong swimmer and I had gone out too far and was in imminent danger. This really frightened me and helped me to be far more aware of the flags and not go out too far.

I am grateful to that lifesaver looking out for me when I couldn’t take care of myself. There are plenty of others who have far me dramatic testimonials. These lifesavers are our heroes, guardians, protectors of our summer fun which is why I painted the “Looking Up" series.

When I painted I had another meaning in my heart. We all have times when we can’t do life on our own. We feel like we are drowning, gasping for air. Like there is something pulling us down. During these times in our life, we need someone who is stronger than ourselves, someone who can swim out to us and pull us back into the safety zone as surf lifesavers do. I hope this body of work encourages those struggling, feeling like they are drowning to look up. Raise your hand, help is here to bring you into the safe zone.” If you feel like that I’d like to encourage you to talk to your family or doctor about how you are feeling. Have a coffee with a friend.

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