Maintaining the vision/Neil Lawrence

July 20, 2015

For the past few weeks I had been attempting to write about the necessity of the activist artist to continually push ahead with their vision regardless of the many setbacks incurred along the way.


The photo I wanted to use as a visual analogy was a pair of glasses (see above) that had been accidentally poked off my head when I was cutting and burning shrubbery in preparation for the installation of a sculpture marking the end of the Gaia Evolution Walk.

I somehow managed to keep working throughout the day without realising what had happened and it was only that evening back at the house after a cleansing shower that, when looking for my glasses, I realised they were missing. The next morning, while getting ready to continue with the burning off of the shrubbery, I saw them in the embers of the previous day’s fire.

How does one continue with their life’s work when accidents/tragedy/misfortune knocks the clear vision off our heads?

Is it possible to continue? Is it possible to re-group? Is it even worth the effort to continue on half blind?


My friend Neil Lawrence died tragically this past week, suffering a heart attack while surfing with his son Tom in the Maldives.

Most Australians would know of Neil as the mastermind of the Kevin 07 election campaign.

I knew Neil, not so much through his creative genius as an advertising guru, but through his — behind the scenes — passionate environmental and social concerns for a better world. He once volunteered himself to the Greens to work pro bono on a federal election campaign, but was turned down because he wasn’t in the “inner circle”.

It was Neil who got the Recognise film crew to come to Windgrove a month or so back.

Go on-line to find more of his achievements.

Right now I just want to focus on how we deal with loss, especially big losses. And how we need to find a way to re-focus — get new glasses; possibly with a better prescription — in order to honour and carry on the work of those who have departed.

Not easy, for sure.

embers again

Just beyond where my broken glasses lay, a pile of ash and burnt wood looked dead and cold.

A little wind came up, however, and fanned a few embers back to life. They poked their red, burning desires through the greyness.

In no small way, seeing this little bit of glowing potential wanting desperately to burst into life again, helped me to carry on with the completion of the job at hand.

Find the love, find the courage, find the little spark to keep your environmental/social/artistic dreams active and progressing.

As hard as it might seem, we need to continually brave the cold waters and surf of this world.

We owe it to all those who have come before.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexandra de Blas July 21, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Beautiful Peter. Thank you

Aaron July 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

poignant words Pete.

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