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Our guest Molly Wagner will share with you her experience of walking the roads, highways and footpaths between Sydney and Bathurst, New South Wales, eventually captured in her book No Trespassing! The Art and Politics of Walking in New South Wales. “No Trespassing!” highlights Molly’s sense of, well, trespassing into lands and stories, despite her practice of walking in public places and pedestrian zones like footpaths, the shoulder of the road, tracks and stories published in the public domain.
The artworks resulting from her experiences, the walks, photo-media works, drawings, and written reflections, were a means of simultaneously sharing her walks with others and inviting them to go for a walk.
Molly’s book was created and edited during a four-month COVID lockdown in 2021. For this, she worked with designer Claire Orrell to create a kind of walking aesthetic in the mix of photographs and stories, published the book in June 2022.
During the café Molly will read selections from her book and share some of what she has learned about walking in New South Wales and making Walking Art.
Whether your walk is a stroll on familiar pathways or a multiday hike through rugged terrain, a commute to work, a pilgrimage, or for fun, a walk made in solitude or with friends, with curiosity, joy, fitness, grief, or revolution in mind, a walk is your personal, creative act of Walking Art.Molly Wagner
Molly performed eleven walks of varying distances and durations, beginning in June 2017 in Parramatta, and eventually walked into Bathurst in October 2019.
During the years of walking, researching, making artworks, and writing, she wandered into layers of history and many questions about her position, as an artist, American migrant, and older white woman living in Australia.
She walked in an easterly and a westerly direction guided by historical narratives including the British colonialists’ explorations through the Blue Mountains, the building of the Cox’s Road, and the Wiradjuri people’s walk from Bathurst to Parramatta in 1824 to mark the end of Martial Law in their Country.
During these walks Molly experienced fear and peace, loneliness, and incredible generosity of spirit from passers-by, painful blisters, and the unexpected beauty of a red waratah on a rain-soaked morning.
She gained a deeper understanding of the much-contested WestConnex Tunnel while walking the traffic laden Parramatta Road.
Molly met dogs that loudly protected their homes and horses that wore purple plaid blankets.
Molly juggled time, distance, picture taking, the weight of her backpack and keeping in touch with friends and family.
At the end of each walk, she planned the next one using what she had learned, with the road as a guide.
Molly fulfilled her dream of walking into Bathurst after several days’ stepping across Wiradjuri Country and believes she truly earned her boots as a ‘Walking Artist’.
Join Molly in this café and on her adventure.