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Ash Barty’s Fist

A young girl asks her mother: “How do you know if you are going to die?” The mother answers: “When you can no longer make a fist.”* Ash Barty’s advice to self: have fun be nice if no fun no tennis if not nice no purpose no spiritual . . . ask Evonne G. if you might pay tribute to her iconic dress her 50th anniversary Wimbledon dreams she Wiradjuri you Ngaragu . . .  “When I was painting Ash,” Mark Shorter writes, “I focused on the fist pump: that singular moment of triumph that is savored after winning a tough point. I like the way she brings that moment in. Holds it and harnesses that experience of the point” her throwback Aussie old-school variety her volleys her slice backhand biting or biding time her big, accurate forehand her serve placement kick spin variety power . . . somewhere in the world a young girl “clenching and opening one small hand.”*

*from “Making a Fist,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Artist Bio: “Ash” is painted by Mark Shorter. This work is the result of a collaborative dialogue of art and words on famous Australian tennis players with Mark Shorter, the endlessly innovative Australian artist and head of sculpture at the University of Melbourne. My thanks to Gertrude Contemporary, the leading incubator of contemporary art in Australia, for hooking us up. You can check out our previous collaborations here.

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