This portrait ‘Visaya’ was taken on Brighton beach in the middle of a hot British summer, two months into our overseas adventure. A few months before taking this image, I’d convinced Visaya to make the move with me from Brisbane to London, in pursuit of both following our dreams of working overseas and being exposed to the larger art world that we both wished to step into. Visaya and I have known each other since 4 years of age, and she was so inseparable from myself and my other two sisters that she was known as the ‘fourth triplet’. We re-engaged our friendship after university, and sharing a bedroom in a Shoreditch sharehouse were as inseparable as ever – two sides of a coin; Visaya, gregarious and loud, always speaking her mind and with an ability to make anyone feel at ease, and myself; more reserved and observant, always thinking of the ‘how’ of our adventures. Lying on the beach together on a rare weekend off work, I remember feeling immensely proud that we had taken this adventure together and that there was no one else in the world that I would rather be doing it with.
Less than 6 months after this moment, Visaya was involved in an unfathomable accident while travelling in the USA and was unable to fly home to Australia as COVID-19 took hold. Unable to grasp the reality of the situation, I came back to this photograph as an image that I see as a portrait of my friend – bright, with charms that act as visual keys into her personality. The joker, a bright display of her ability to bring life and energy into any scenario, the Scorpion, the star sign we share and an insight into her cheeky personality and perseverance, layered with the other two more literal charms. Viewed together, these form a portrait of my friend, an inspiring artist and incredible human, my sister Visaya.