>|| So, I got to the point where I thought, give me a dollar fifty, and we’ll just say, ‘behold the miracle’, because the more I thought about it, the more I realised it wasn’t a miracle in the terms of being a supernatural event; it was marvellous and it was wondrous, but it wasn’t really a miracle; and the more I looked under it, the more I became convinced of this |[inaudible]| So it all gets down to saying, ‘and if it were a miracle, it’s only a whitefella miracle’—if you get down, right down to translating it, if you find out what makes it tick, you’ve regrettably destroyed it || So I’d got to the point where I thought I could explain it in some terms but that I had destroyed its status as a miracle; yet, looking at this painting—and when that’s what you really should do in a strong way, you just look at the painting—what comes to me then is that one is witnessing it in the way that a religious believer might say one can ‘behold the miracle’ | And let me stress that split in the verb: to ‘be’ and to ‘hold’; holding as being and being held by it—isn’t that a miracle?


Image:  Doreen Chapman Untitled (Mona Lisa), 2017 101.5 x 91.5 cm Acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the artist and Spinifex Hill Studios, South Headland, Western Australia

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Deborah Sims is a collector and co-curator of the Sims Dickson Collection of mainly, but not exclusively, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Exhibitions drawn from the collection have been lent to public institutions 20 times since 2011.

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