Guest artist for Overland 232: Bella Li

Artist’s statement

In the introduction to The Age of Collage, Silke Krohn writes: collage ‘is, above all, collecting, searching, or perhaps only finding’. The images in this issue of Overland are made from books and magazines about gardening, astronomy, crochet, the United States at the turn of the last century, Mexico, rockets, the history of photography in New Zealand, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They were found in second-hand bookstores in Tokyo, Dunedin and Melbourne; on shelves, in crates, and wedged into perilous stacks. At home they are collected together with other books, many of which I searched for, too – also unknowingly. Each is a reminder of the frailty and perseverance of objects; that everything ages, goes in and out of style, is composed and recomposed, and recomposed again. That nothing lasts. That everything lasts, one way or another.

It has been a privilege to contribute work to this issue, to respond to these four pieces of nonfiction and fiction. While reading and rereading them I had thoughts, in no particular order, of: water, cities, frames; motion, stillness, time travel; bodies, binaries, metamorphoses; death, roses and decay.

– Bella Li




Artwork for essay ‘The bird you are holding’


Artwork for short story ‘How to disappear into yourself (in 8 steps)’


Artwork for short story ‘Dear Ophelia’


Artwork for short story ‘Nothing in the night’


Back cover


Permission note: The base image for the collages for ‘The bird you are holding’ and the back cover is by Héctor García, courtesy of Fundación María and Héctor García.


Bella Li

Bella Li is the author of Argosy (Vagabond Press, 2017) – a book of poetry, collage and photography – which won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry and the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her latest collection is Lost Lake (Vagabond Press, 2018), which has been shortlisted for the 2018 Queensland Literary Award for Poetry.

More by Bella Li ›

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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