top of page

Where Can I find the Divine Purple Emperor

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

A Serene Welcome to 'Shifting Sands'

Come closer and explore the connection between fine art photography, creativity, and inspiration. Where I explore the initial conception of an idea to the creation of the final image, giving my fine art a meaning and a voice. The inspirational print I have chosen is a Print from my Shivers collection. I'll present the following:

  • An Overview of the print

  • The Unveiling of the Unspoken Words, followed by

  • My Secret Inspirational Story

  • The Drifts Unique Voice and

  • Provide some useful Links

Let's set off and explore some delights! We are heading to the quiet sanctuary of South Golden Beach of NSW near Byron Bay, where I found my jewel, then off to the cool hinterland of Canberra our nation’s capital ACT, where the tulips explode into vibrant color for the Spring Floriade spectacular each year and the Multicultural festival featuring international music, dance, and creative arts.

The Divine Purple Emperor

Drift n Tides Australian Art - Divine Purple Emperor


The Divine Purple Emperor emerges in its majestic ceremonial robes. The noble color purple provides a blast of color, in its deepest values, sweeping across the canvas unveiling wings of gleaming pastel gold fading to translucent flowery pale yellow. Ready to span the voyage of a lifelong pursuit of power, prestige, and glory. This shot was taken at South Golden Beach NSW, on the low tide mark in the early morning as the sun was rising, this provides the shadows and contrasts you see in the drift.

The vivid colors utilised in this image, stem from my cherished days performing as a tribal belly dancer with the ‘Veils of Bagdad’ in Canberra. Swaying and hip dropping away in my colorful belly dance costume, with its purple and crimson hues and silhouettes of gold studded flowing veils. They are embroidered on every sultry shimmy, undulation, and figure 8 that inspires the endless ebb and flow of the ocean tide and the path I follow today.

Unspoken words

This image holds special significance for me, as it portrays a struggling Artist ‘An Emperor emerging in his majestic ceremonial robes’, rising from adversity all motheaten and battered, shedding his shabby coat, seeking refuge, and beginning a new life triumphant and proud. I feel very privileged to retell this story, and spurred on after recently revealing it, at my lush scrumptious book club at Knox & Co. We have yummy nibbles while chatting at book club!

Check out useful links at the end of my blog to see our latest book, highly recommended by all! 'Love Objects' by Emily Maquire.

My inspiration Story.

After having twins, in 1994 I discovered I had a belly, surprise, surprise! I decided to put it to good use and give it a workout and joined a local Belly dancing group at the 'School of Middle Eastern Dance' at Gorman House Braddon, pleased to say it worked!

It was a safe space for women, a woman’s circle for all ages from17 – 80 to come together and freely express themselves. Exploring through dance the desires and impulses that lay hidden in our daily lives and accept our body’s as wonderful extensions of our personalities, to heal a be set free! The key message of tribal belly dance was one of exotic not erotic.

Learning to isolate different parts of the body, moving them in sensuous movements and rhythms to express our femininity.

It was a wonderful experience to immerse oneself in another’s culture, music, rhythm, and dance. We celebrated learning various belly dance routines and got dressed up in coin belts and fringed bras, flowing scarves and bright colored skirts made from Indian saris and shimmed away to imported traditional oriental music in costumes of gold and red, purple, crimson, orange, and yellow enthralling many Spring Floriade’s and Multi-cultural festivals.

Mural Art

Then, one chilly Canberra evening while practicing our dance routines, in the late 90's, there was a knock on the door and a man entered and asked to speak to our dance instructor. He was a Chinese national. He explained, he had come to Australia as a refugee as a result of Tiananmen Square massacre and was now living in a one-bedroom, bed sit in Canberra.

He loved our dance troop and our colorful costumes, and he’d been photographing us for over three years and had plans to paint a mural with the whole dance troop featuring all 20 of us.

The painting to the left depicts the amazing details of each decorative feature of my costume and portrait. I love this picture.

Well, you can imagine this freaked a few people out at first, until he showed us some of his sketches, his artistic vision and passion was truly amazing! Our instructor talked it over with the Veils and we gave permission to go ahead with the mural. However, the artist had to paint one of me out. I had changed costume's during the three-year photography shoot and now played a drum, which worked out well as it provided the opportunity for another dancer to be painted into the mural.

Excitement built when the first viewing became available prior to the Multi-cultural festival. Due to the immense size of the mural, it was displayed in the foyer of the Canberra Arts Theatre. The mural was 2.8 meters high and approximately12 meters long, completed in panels in his one-bedroom flat, an amazing technical accomplishment!

The photo below is a life size image of me squatting beside myself, splint included! It shows how the picturesque colours of the mural combined collectively to tell an impressive story that successfully celebrates cultural diversity and social inclusion.

Michelle with the Mural

I was so proud of this artwork it was truly a magnificent feat, that worked. In this image you can see me playing a darbuka an Egyptian Tabla hand drum, which we utilized to help keep us in sync with the beat of the music, I can feel each hip drop back and forth as I type. Friends that know me well, know I cannot sit still when I hear a good beat.

The detail of each individual dancer and their outfits was uncanny. He truly was incredible the way he wove his artistic magic and captured the intricate designs, textures, and fabrics of each costume, capturing the culture, energy, and detail in our portraits.

I weighed all my jewellery and coin belts; in total I wore 2.5 kilos in this photo. Unfortunately, I only have access to these two shots currently, the others are in storage. I have not altered the photos and taken out the flash points as they are not mine to alter. Note I've put a copyright on the images of myself to protect the work, I'll remove them when I can contact the owner of the artwork.

After the public viewing at the festival there was a lot of media coverage, and the circumstances of our Chinese artist struggle became known. I'm pleased to say this led to the formal recognition of his artwork and achievements and he was offered a position at the local Canberra TAFE as an Art teacher. He was a wonderful ambassador for the resettlement of refugees and a true inspiration for struggling artists with a vision. He sent us all photographs of the mural with a thankyou letter. At the end of the letter, it was signed off.

"I Ever not forget your helps!.."

He was a true gentleman and talented artist. What happened after that – I don’t know. I am unable to put a name to his work to acknowledge him, if anyone knows his name or his where abouts, please let me know, and I'll adjust the details according to his wishes to my Blog.

Divine Purple Emperor

Conclusion: The Drifts Unique


Amazing how a sand Moth vignette such as this one, tranquilly displayed above the bath, can vividly illustrate the creative impact, and evoke such a wonderful story that a fellow artist like the ‘Emperor’ has had on me.

Our work as artists is distinctively different, the ‘Emperors’ mural of acrylic and oil, gave the final illusion of a photographic image.

My prints, people often say ‘but it looks like a painting.’ How do you do that? Its Fine Art in a different form, Digital Fine Art Photography. I utilise many different digital photographic tools as a form of expression, it allows me the freedom to give shape, color and form to the images in nature that I have discovered. It Enables me to give life to my own imagination. The end product a drifftntides print that you to, can take time to feel, reminisce and reflect on, in your own quiet space.

You never know where inspiration will come from. I have been lucky to have had many amazing people in my life. I consider myself privileged to have been able support and collaborate with someone as special as the “Emperor”, to enable him to convey his artistic talents and inspire me to not give up and have a go!

I hope this blog has raised some well-deserved recognition of the skills, expertise, and experience that our refugees have to offer, and highlights the way cultural exchange can enrich our communities and benefit our lives, so we can care more and take time to understand each other.

Enjoy your bath and your daydreams musing the 'Divine Purple Emperor'. You can explore my selection of limited edition prints from landscapes to vignettes in collections. Discover a fine art photograph perfectly suited to your home and office today.


You can comment below:

I'd love to hear your comments on any of the areas I've raised in this blog, Self - awareness; Inspiration, where yours comes from?; The use of colour; Fine Art photography; Dance; Refugee artists and your experiences; Experiences others have had assisting refugees resettle the positives the negatives; What ever you'd like to raise.

I look forward to hearing from you.

#artistic #refugeeart #artemperor #inspirational #fineartphotography

Useful Links

Love Objects - Emily Maguire

Home | Knox & Co. Murwillumbah (

Refugee Art Project - Refugee Council of Australia

Home - 2022 National Multicultural Festival

Floriade (


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page