Magic Fish Dreaming on its way to PNG with your love and assistance

Ripple Poetry

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO MAGIC FISH DREAMING BOOKS TO PNG (You will be asked to verify you are not a robot first!)

Inspired by a meeting with Gregg Dreise, where we learnt about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in Australia and their various projects I decided I needed to do something for literacy for my mother’s homeland Papua New Guinea.

I decided to run a non profit book drive to send some copies of Magic Fish Dreaming, via local charities that deliver them, to Papua New Guinea. In this way I hoped to cover my cost price only, and effectively donate the profit on these books to charity.

I wanted to do this so that rather than sending second hand books, that might not be culturally appropriate I could send a brand new book, from my heart to the heart of Papua New Guinea.

I wanted to do something to…

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Last In Person Tour

June and Writing Friends in front of Epiphany by Ian Fairweather, Queensland Art Gallery – Image taken by Sheryl Gwyther

My last in person tour of  Words and Pictures is tomorrow afternoon at 2pm (Saturday 17th November).  We will meet and depart from The Gift ( A raft) in the Australia Collection in the Queensland Art Gallery.  Please RSVP by gumbootspearlz@gmail.com if you are able to make it.

A mega thank you to the QAGOMA for the opportunity to create the Words and Pictures Spring Season responses.  I  loved every moment of creating these pieces and then sharing them with the public, as well as my friends, family and writing friends.

 Magic Fish Dreaming my poetry book for children, illustrated by Helene Magisson, is stocked in the QAGOMA shops and I will be reading some works from this book, and maybe from the Spring Season, at the Asia Pacific Triennial, Summer program in January, 2019.

I hope one day to develop some books out of the poetry and stories contributed to Words and Pictures and will let you know of my progress here on the blog.

Sail, on The Gift by Michael Stevenson, Queensland Art Gallery
The Gift by Michael Stevenson, Queensland Art Gallery

Words and Pictures Reviewed by Renee Hills

Review of June Perkins’s Words and Pictures Tour (Queensland Art Gallery, Sept-November 2018)

French artist Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) famously said ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see’.

This was truly my experience when I joined June Perkins’s tour of Words & Pictures. June’s interactive journey through the Australian Collection features poetry and micro stories inspired by 12 different artworks. Her responses are written for visitors of all ages, with particular appeal to children and families; a delightful glimpse of art through the eyes of a poet and children’s author.

Words & Pictures is part of an ongoing project to increase engagement with artworks in QAG. Local artists and writers are invited to respond to artworks in the Australia Collection. June was thrilled to be commissioned to do this work. ‘This was one of the best emails in relation to my work I’ve ever received,’ she said.

June had complete freedom over her choice of artworks. Each response was limited to a maximum of 80 words and everything had to be completed in three weeks with a couple more weeks for editing! She spent a lot of time in the gallery, finding works that appealed to her, thinking of a child’s perspective (choosing works above and below their eye level and in a variety of media) and developing a concept for her poetic responses. The result is engaging, inspiring and easily accessible to children and adults.

June’s poetry appears in a display adjacent to author information beside each artwork. Each poem carries a delicate feather motif. This is a reference to an imaginary character that June created – Perceval’s Angel, inspired by John Perceval’s Herald Angel, a richly glazed sculpture.

John Perceval, Herald Angel, Queensland Art Gallery

June imagined the tour like a giant picture book with Perceval’s Angel guiding viewers through the pages. June was delighted to tell John Perceval’s grandson, a friend from her university days, that she was using the angel in her creative pieces for the gallery. Some of her poetry pieces begin with a quote from Perceval’s Angel who speaks directly to the viewers, guiding them to the next artwork or helping them interact with it.

‘Hop on board’ the angel invites viewers of Yvonne Koolmatrie’s Hot Air Balloon, and June adds:
‘Take yourself to the balloon’s edge,
Feel the breezes, through the sedge’

Yvonne Koolmatrie, Hot Air Balloon, Queensland Art Gallery

This is an enticing invitation to adventure and travel,  and lets the imagination ride free in this sedge grass, coil woven work suspended in space.​

On a time travel wall displaying different artists’ approaches to the Australian landscape, the angel says:
‘Listen to the music of landscapes
through the portal of Australia’s artists’

One of June’s choices on this wall is Rosalie Gascoigne’s Lamp Lit, a large work made up of letters and shapes from cut up road signs. June’s response draws on the personal experience of destruction and loss wrought by Cyclone Yasi in 2011 when a road sign ended up in her front yard; or as angel says: ‘But the real question is what will you design in response to loss?’ ​

Rosalie Gascoigne’s, Lamp Lit

And so, the adventure in art continues, stopping by at Ian Fairweather’s Epiphany, Sydney Long’s romantic and ethereally beautiful Spirit of the Plains, Sonya Carmichael’s colourful Baskets of Culture, Fred William’s vivid Echuca Landscape, Irene Chou’s suggestive Universe within Our Hearts, William Delafield Cook’s amazingly detailed and skilfully toned A Haystack, and Ray Crooke’s Woman with blossoms, reminiscent of Gauguin. June said she saw her identity in this particular work.


Woman with Blossoms, Ray Crooke, Queensland Art Gallery

Our tour ended as it had begun with an invitation to travel on in the imagination, this time on a representation of Ian Fairweather’s ramshackle craft; the one he used at the age of 60 to make a potentially suicidal 16 day crossing of the Timor Sea from Darwin to a remote coral island west of Timor in 1952.


The gift (from ‘Argonauts of the Timor Sea’), Michael Stevenson, Queensland Art Gallery
Kudusur, Alick Tipolti, Queensland Art Gallery

June’s verse reads:
‘You can do anything, be anything
travel anywhere…’


​The child in her poem makes the sacrifice necessary to travel to Kudusur – a reference to the dramatic mural visible through the hole in the craft’s sail. Painted by Torres Strait islander Alick Tipoti, it references paddling a canoe, seasons, ocean currents, journeying between islands and spiritual ancestors – the universal journey through life.

Don’t miss this Words and Pictures journey. Grab a child or find your inner child; help yourself to the drawing board, paper and pencils, and create your own responses.

You can take yourself on a tour anytime between 10 am to 5 pm, until the end of November.

June’s final in person tour will be on November 17th 2 pm (contact gumbootspearlz@gmail.com for more information).

You won’t regret it. All those attending on 17th Nov are invited to sponsor Magic Fish Dreaming books to go to PNG.

Pdfs of POEMS UNTIL END OF NOVEMBER

Renee Hills 2018-11-06

June with a tour group

Dr June Perkins is a Brisbane-based poet, blogger and children’s author, of Indigenous Papua New Guinean and Australian background, raised in Tasmania by Baha’i parents. She utilizes multiarts and multicultural stories to inspire an enriched sense of belonging and compassion in those who encounter her work. She was recently invited to share Magic Fish Dreaming at the Asia Pacific Triennial, Summer Program 2019 and became a member of Mana Pasifika research Institute. She maintains an interest and dedication to promoting diversity in the Australian literary landscape. Her first children’s book was the award-winning poetry collection, Magic Fish Dreaming (2016) illustrated by Helene Magisson.

​June Perkins’s Website
Ripple Poetry Blog

Renee Hills has always loved words and writing. A founding member of Write Links, she writes picture books (Turtle Love was published in 2017); flash fiction (Proof was published in Short and Twisted,Celapene Press 2017); and a short fantasy is to be included in the Rainforest Writing Retreat Anthology 2018.

Renee Hill’s Webpage

This review originally appeared on the Write Links Blog as curated by Lucy McGinley

(Photo credits: June Perkins, Renee Hills, Rebecca Sheraton and Maria Parenti-Baldey)





In Remembrance

Magic Fish Dreaming

It is with great sadness that I pay my regards to the Sweeting Family, for the sudden and unexpected loss of their mother, and grandmother Dot.

Dot was a lover of books, especially those with a Far North Queensland setting and author.

She set up the Local Authors Network to assist authors to distribute books to schools, shops and homes.

I am forever thankful for her help although we never met.

Because of her Magic Fish Dreaming has found many new homes.

She will be sorely missed.

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