Drawing from a reverential love of nature and deep spiritual affiliation with the land, Joshua Yeldham creates intricately rendered works that oscillate between narrative and myth, imagination and real experience.
‘Owls of Kyoto’ marks an aesthetic departure from Yeldham’s renowned representations of the Australian wilderness, manifesting his inner imaginings along a recent journey to Japan. Fulfilling his long-time dream of creating art in Kyoto with his family, the artist’s unique hand carved prints are inspired by his travels, temple climbs and experiences harvesting Japanese indigo leaves. Allegorical representations of owls – significant animals in the symbolic currency of Japan, said to bring luck and offer protection from suffering – embody Yeldham’s profound and personal connection with nature. ‘These owls represent my need to merge with the natural environment’ he says; ‘they are loving owls, still and creative’. An ongoing source of inspiration, the owl allows the artist to submerge himself in the foreign environment of Kyoto on the wings of this familiar motif. Embellished with his signature patterning and free-formed carvings atop earthy pigments, the works signify his quiet communion with the natural world and willing surrender to forces that elude our control. The owls, believed by many indigenous cultures to be messengers and carriers of wisdom, deliver these deeply personal affiliations to the viewer.