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Michelle Tonkin - Artist | Writer 

My art-making processes over the past three decades have been driven by a desire to explore boundaries and subvert concepts. Drawing inspiration from both feminist thought and formal Buddhist studies, my work centres on the transgression and transcendence of boundaries, both physical and spiritual.

From 2001-2011, I lived and worked in a monastery as a celibate Buddhist nun. During this time, I sought release from restrictive concepts of mind and body, and explored the possibility of an art practice based on sculpting intent rather than form. Through this period of renunciation, I experienced a profound erasure of the body and its expressions, as well as of the tangible creation of art.

My subsequent art practice and research have sought to find ways to re-enter form through modes of understanding and finding reparation at the site where spiritual trauma took place: the body. My art is fostered through a co-creating relationship with materiality, exploring the junctures where self and matter, inner and outer intersect. These are liminal territories that disrupt borders and differences. Rather than crystallising limitations, my practice aims to evoke something that is unbound, limit-less, and which allows for the resonance of open-ended possibilities of being.

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