Rosaleen Norton Illustration

Rosaleen Norton Illustration

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Illustration of Rosaleen Norton.

Rosaleen Norton, or “the witch of Kings Cross,” is finally receiving the attention she deserves. Born in Dunedin in 1917, emigrating with her family to Sydney in 1925, and dying in 1979, Norton was a trailblazing woman and under-appreciated cultural touchstone of 20th century Australia.

A self proclaimed witch, Norton experienced childhood visions. From around the age of 23, she practised trance magic and, later, sex magic in various flats and squats in inner-city Sydney.

Trance magic involved Norton meditating (sometimes with the assistance of various substances, ingested and/or inhaled) and raising her consciousness. The aim was to transcend her physical body and conscious mind to experience higher forms of existence.

Sex magic was developed by the infamous occultist, Aleister Crowley around 1904, and involves a complicated series of sexual rituals designed for a variety of perceived needs (depending on the practitioner), including spiritual awakening.

As an artist, Norton drew and painted her beliefs and the gods, goddesses, and spiritual beings who were central to it. She also lived free from societal expectations. Not only a witch, but openly bisexual, Norton robustly challenged a predominantly Christian Australia. But she was reviled for doing so, attacked by the media for her art, her beliefs, her lifestyle, and sometimes, her appearance. She experienced police surveillance and faced obscenity charges over her art.

Norton defied cultural norms and, though she did not identify as a feminist, was a powerfully unconventional woman. Poor but not without imaginative style, she had distinctive arched eyebrows, sometimes dressed in male attire, and was often photographed wearing all black. 

Credit 

  • Material: Paper, Glass, Wood
  • Color: Black, White
  • Approx. Dimensions: 8"x10" Print - 11"x14" Framed
  • Approx. Weight: 2.5 lb

By: Brittany Luciani

 

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