Kate Ceberano is an Australian singer songwriter based in Melbourne, who has been performing in the music industry for 40 years and is a multiple platinum award winner and hall of fame recipient. Kate’s usual medium has been music, but now we are invited into her private, intimate art series ‘Unsung Songs’.
Kate’s ancestry is brimming with multicultural creatives originating from Sweden, Hawaii, the Philippines and Australia, so it is no surprise her talent has gone beyond performing on stage.
For five generations, including Kate’s mother, her lineage has chosen the medium of painting, especially portraiture, to express themselves. Kate’s ancestor, Henry Mundy was a renowned portrait artist who painted the landed gentry during the First Settlement in Tasmania in the 1830’s. Mundy’s works are of national historical significance and belong in major cultural institution collections throughout the country such as the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, the Tasmania Museum and Gallery and on display in the State Library of Victoria.
Kate began painting whilst pregnant with her daughter 18 years ago, exploring an outlet for her creativity whilst away from the stage. ‘Nothing else really had compared to the magic of live performance except for painting.’
Kate has painted many guitars over the years combining music lyrics and paint on instruments to create bespoke mementos with layers of family identity for the owner to be handed down to loved ones. ‘I paint to create an emotional feeling of connection and memory. My style is more ‘lyrical’ than literal, and I do it almost as therapy for myself, as for others.’
During this unprecedented halt in live music and touring globally, Kate has been painting memories of places she’s visited and the changing seasons. ‘From my studio window I contemplate these places and things daily. Like a bird in a cage, I am singing through my brush onto a canvas in lieu of a microphone and an audience.’
Her works are inspired by nature and textiles, using acrylics on canvas or ink and pen on paper. Sensual like fabric, Kate has envisaged her works in a boudoir, as part of a rich tapestry ‘something I’d like to wear, or feel between my fingers.’
‘These are my ‘unsung songs’, they feel lyrical and alive. Often, I’ll go for days in the ‘performance’ of painting, barely eating, speaking, and just doing it. It helps a lot to feel this way as thinking about it seems to disturb my peace and feels less authentic for some reason.’
‘My hope is that we can keep the arts alive at a time that feels akin to the dark ages… Perhaps when we come out of this time, we will have a Renaissance again and the world will be singing and painting on every corner! I hope my work will be the graffiti on the street corner or tattooed on the arm of the busker singing her guts out.’