Discovering Youth Art

Last night a Youth Arts Exhibition opened at Mission Beach community Arts Centre.

These are just a few photographic highlights.

2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 094
Hayley, Sonya and Sheridan
2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 100
Young Singers – Buskers doing a gig
2013-07-13 2013-07-13 001 009
2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 080
Some of the crowd

2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 019

A wonderful night was had by the over 50 people who attended.
As well as supporting young local artists, the evening gave families of the artists a chance to mingle and meet others from throughout the Cassowary Coast. Visitors from from as far as Townsville came to support the artists and the night, and artists and their families came from Feluga, Mission Beach, Murray Upper and Tully.
The biggest eye capturing piece was a street art sign saying Mission Beach Arts Rocks. This, along with some individual pieces displayed beside it, were made possible through money provided by the Cassowary Coastal council for a street arts workshop. This had a tropical twist to it, through featuring butterflies around the letters.
It did present a challenge to hang, but thankfully this was resolved, and at the conclusion of the exhibition will grace the outside of the gallery to add colour and youthful vitality.
Hayley Gillespie’s workshop resulted in a Discovering Me wall, full of vibrant pieces of portraits, butterflies, ying and yang and a colourful still life.  Hayley came to the opening and selected pieces for encouragement awards.  She commented on how much she enjoyed working with the young artists from the area.
Another school holidays workshop with Sally Moroney led to the inclusion of a wire sculpture of a giraffe made by Matilda, a six year old artist, who recently moved from Victoria to the area with her family.  Sally holds regular workshops for budding artists of the area and encourages them with their work.  She held a preliminary meeting to encourage their participation in the project.  They then put the word out to their friends as well.
A few students from Tully High school put in work, with Sonya, Caitlin and Sheridan all receiving encouragement awards.  Sonya, Judge’s Choice, Caitlin, composition, and wall display, Sheridan.  Each high school artist featured a dragon in her art and all are good friends.
Sonya had striking social commentary in some of her pieces, and a note about how she had obtained bones from animals to construct one.  Caitlin created delightful bird paintings on feathers amongst her three contributions. Sheridan’s mixed media wall had several digital art pieces, as well as a collage and some canvas work.


2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 072

Other award winners where Shinji for his use of colour, and Georgia for her open and moving artists’ statements.  Vouchers for further art supplies were a welcome reward to the emerging artists.

2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 062
Matilda and her creation

There are many other noteworthy art pieces including an almost murder mystery trio of pieces.  You’ll need to go have a look at the exhibition to see what they were.  It is open until the 23rd of July.

Young musicians came and shared their instrumental and singing talents whilst attendees feasted on cheese, crackers and a sausage sizzle.  Sally made a discovery a young group of buskers who she invited along to participate in the night.
Ben, an up and coming guitarist, gave his guitar a brilliant and sustained workout; playing, blues, popular and classical to set a beautiful tone for the afternoon/evening.
Sonya gave a heartfelt thank you to Sally for all she does for local artists when arising to accept her award.  Many  parents also thanked her for providing this opportunity for young people from the area.  Hayley Gillespie was thanked for inspiring them as well, and some of the children and youth requested photographs with her.


2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 097
Young Artist and Hayley

 2013-07-12 2013-07-13 001 011


2013-07-13 2013-07-13 001 003
Chris and daughter, and Sally


Returning North


This story  first appeared at ABC Open’s, New In Town.  Head over there to read more stories on this theme.

So many times my hubby and I were new and then gone.

We always seemed to be just settling in when it was suddenly time to go again.

This follow, or be blown, by the wind life style, which came about initially through being students and looking for work, courses and scholarships, had its down side.

We missed the people, especially extended family, left behind and often wished they could come in our suitcases.

The upside was that we always found something tantalising in the new, like when we first moved to North Queensland, to live in Townsville; that time over twenty years ago comes back to me in a huge memory wave – the long, long drive from New South Wales, the intense heat, the finding a hotel on the first night and the thankfulness for air conditioning. It was so different from my Tasmanian childhood upbringing.

I can still hear fruit bats in the trees, taste mango, and remember swimming for the first time in ocean that was like a warm bath. I remember days and days without rain. Townsville is dry tropics.

New places are vivid for the writer who thrives on a changing environment, so all these new experiences came into my life and my writing and enriched them.

During that time someone said to us, ‘once you’ve been North, you will never really leave.’ We didn’t know what they meant until we did leave when our eldest son was just one, only to return seven years later, as if by some invisible magnetic pull, but also disenchanted with the downside of life in cities.

It was a drive, further than before, past Townsville, past the cane, and heading into Tully, a town we had never heard of before – a town with a big gumboot.  Now we were in the wet tropics.

We had a tiny plastic turtle whose head wobbled up and down perched in the car, it was just one of many things to amuse our now three children in the back of the car. We named it Tully Turtle.

Looking at the photographs of when we first arrived here I see how small my children were back then, all three were under ten. Two are now teenagers, and one is heading to eleven.

We have lived the longest of anywhere our entire married life, eight years in the Cassowary Coast. Previous to that our average was about three years.

Now we know what it is to move beyond being new to being settled.

The lessons are that you learn to overlook the short comings of the area, like distance from health facilities, no public transport system, and people initially being suspicious of you and waiting to see if you will actually stay before even wanting to be your friend.

We’ve learnt what it like to live in the wet season, be flooded in, and long for days without rain.

We’ve learnt the joys and pressures of tiny communities and small schools.

We’ve learnt that there is something special your children attending school with mates they were at in kindy or year one with.

We’ve learnt what a community does to pull together in tough times like after Cyclone Yasi.  They become family.

When my friend Paulien visited from Holland – she took pleasure in all that was new – and kept telling my youngest two children how special their home was.

Surrounded by it all the time they take the Licuala palms, the cassowaries, the beach – all of it for granted, all of it home, none of it new now. Her wonder, made them curious about her home and why she should be so amazed – it made them want to travel.

They don’t remember what it’s like to be new to a whole area and how long it takes to make close friends. They are just at the beginning of life and they long for adventure.  They long for the tantalizing things that travel will bring.

(c) June Perkins

Spine Poems

A spine poem for the local library
The Stolen Children (a spine poem by – June Perkins)

The Stolen Children our Stories
Talking Ink from Ochre
Words and Silences
Haunted by the Past
The Music of the Soul
Writing us Mob – new Indigenous Voices

Recently I entered our local library’s Spine Book Poetry Competition. This above photograph and words are one of my entries.

The library were chuffed with the response to the competition, with over 280 entries and a massive support from Local businesses to provide prizes.

Why not try one of your own – just for fun.

Here is some of the press release from Cassowary Coastal council:

Quirky poems created from book titles have won Cassowary Coast residents early Christmas gifts from local businesses.

The Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s innovative Libraries Spine Poetry competition has proved a big hit across the region, with more than 280 entries from readers, and with support from a dozen local shops.

Adults, teenagers and children delved into Cassowary Coast library collections to choose a series of books with titles that could be strung together as clever and quirky poems or stories.

One winning entry read: “As I grew older/My mother always used to say/If…/I want to be/Unstoppable/All things are possible”, another “Sylvia/Remember Me?/Partners in Crime/Cat Among the Pigeons/I’ll be Seeing You/At Bertram’s Hotel”.

The Cardwell, Mission Beach, Tully and Innisfail winners are:

Innisfail: Adult: June Sue Yek, Youth: Madison Beave, Junior: Jessica Irving
Tully: Adult: Alison Morrison, Youth: Wannisa Schoene, Junior: Alex Duncan
Mission Beach: Adult: Rachel Gabiola, Junior: Teigan Conaghty
Cardwell: Adult: Sandra Flegler, Junior Harmony Harris-Appleby
Highly commended entrants were: (Adult) Stephanie Berger, Naomi Brigham, Wendy Sheils, Patricia Mullins, Michael Mullins, Kerry Lucht, Pam Galeano, June Perkins, C A Bailey, Michelle Nash, Barbara Harle, (Youth) Bianca Snodgrass, Kayte Ramsay, Kimberley Basso, Kirstine Schoene, (Junior) Claire Smith, Mattia Boutle, Stephanie Lavell, Mandeep Kaur, Aiva Williams, Jamie Pedley, Danielle White, Caitlan Plath, Reuben Sharpe, Ashleigh Begg, Lola Zamora, Eve Verity & Crystal Dawn.

Competition organiser Natasha Lavell said the fun competition had been part of National Year of Reading celebrations.

“It’s been great to see so many people, of all ages, enjoying books and to see so many local businesses supporting reading by donating prizes for the competition,” Ms Lavell said.

Launch of Cyclone Yasi Our Stories

Poets of Yasi, sometimes you can say more with less – the collection mixes it up with accounts or emotions that are sometimes expressed in poetry.

Two dear friends, Survivors and Poets of Cyclone Yasi.

Seven of the Licuala WINQ writers took they time to contribute to the anthology of Yasi stories, four of them pictured here.  Well done everyone for taking time out of clean ups and moves to write up your experience and share it.
Licuala WINQ Writers featured in Cyclone Yasi, Our Stories.

Volunteers doing their bit for history, literature and thirsty launch attendees.  A friendly bunch showing the community spirit of Cardwell is and strong. Cardwell Lions did a lot in the post Yasi clean ups even when they themselves had a lot to do!  We love our volunteers on the Cassowary Coast, always thinking of others.

Cardwell Lions - supporting the launch of Cyclone Yasi out stories.

Catching up with Sue Tidey and meeting her hubby Robert was great.  Wonderful contributors to the  Cyclone Yasi, our Stories, who said it actually uplifted them to be included and to come along today.

We had fun discussing cameras, wildlife, ABC Open and blogging!

Robert and Sue Tidey

You can see more pictures of the launch here.

Watch out for a guest ABC Open post soon, but you can always find me  here on my homebase blog.

Pearlz Dreaming.

For more details about the book visit  Cardwell Historical Society.

For more go to the ABC Open Post on the Launch – Launch of Cyclone Yasi our Stories, Our Words.

Circle of Recovery

circle of life
Circle of Life – By June Perkins

Recently my family went to visit Edmund Kennedy National Park.  Like so much else around us it has been ravaged by Cyclone Yasi and is showing scars.

The scars include stinking dead fish on the beach – and trees alternating between neatly piled to chaotically strewn around depending on where they are in relation to the access road.

My children rolled hoops along the beach as I thought about the circle of nature’s distruction and renewal, the circle of life, a circle of weather patterns and a circle of recovery.

Looking forward I could see that the national parks would recover and that it would take ongoing patience to see a beauty in their stark branches which allow one to see the sky so clearly.

The day before our trip to Edmund Kennedy my eldest son presented a personal knowledge pursuit project on physics of guitar.  He was so nervous.  Yet he had enjoyed the study of the year and his control of his time immensely.  He likes to know everything about his guitars and spend a lot of time with them.  I have a photograph of him playing his guitar the day after the cyclone as he walks down the road outside our house.  I will always remember him playing it in the candlelight as the storm began to build up.

I wrote a post for abcopen about guitars and their part in our cyclone experience Legend of Five Guitars but the funny thing is we now have more guitars, as a friend Omid gave a bass to my eldest son (which was also used in his PKP project.)

Galeanos – by June

Early this week I went to visit Pam and Joe Galeano to do some more work on the video story series I am doing on them.  Pam took me for a drive around their property.  We had a great time looking through her old albums too.  This bought up so many more stories.

I think Pam and Joe could write a very interesting memoirs but they are pretty modest people.

As we drove to the very end part where they have a little patch of rainforest she related how usually there were thicky leafy overhangs from the canopy that cross over the road and in a high 4wd they would crash into you.

However now there is no canopy.  I looked up to the sky and could see the tufts of green on the end of peeled trees and – it was then that Joe’s words from earlier in the day came to me.

”nature will recover, it always does – it’s people that mourn when it is damaged.”

Although he does think Yasi was a particularly tough cyclone and it make take many human years for that recovery to fully show itself to locals.

Thinking of photography I know I like to take portraits of people that come with a story.  I admire people who can do weddings and families that they don’t know and can build an easy rapport with the people involved quickly.

Yet for me intimate storytelling photography which requires longer to pull off holds special appeal.  I like to know that story behind the face I photograph and to have the time to hear it, retell it and convey it with an image.

Interesting faces which say something in every crease or twinkle of the eyes, or locations where the people usually reside (not studios) then hold special appeal.

I took several pictures of Pam and Joe in their country – environment and was very happy with quite a few of them.

My circles of recovery come from conversations that lead to these photographic moments – and writing them reminds me of how far myself and others have come.

I was delighted to learn one friend yesterday  finally had her roof back, but sad to learn another has to wait until January 2012.  Other friends are having watershed years where special amazing things are happening.  They take on new jobs and challenges and have already been able to leave Yasi behind.  Yet not everyone can.

I’ve been having interesting facebook chats on the recovery process too.  Thanks to all those who take the time to chat and understand that some of us still need to unpack the recovery process.

Yesterday we had an amazing end of year surprise – we won the Christmas shopping vouchers that all the small businesses sponsor with the Tully Times.  You fill out a form everytime you shop with a local business and go into the Christmas draw – it is an amazing prize.

It’s such a variety of vouchers – the butchers, bakery, seafood, photographic stuff, and the uniform shop and hairdressers.  Amazing as I have been cutting the whole family’s hair to save money.  I wonder who will use that voucher.    It could be me?

Another surprise was having a blog with ABCopen make it onto another abc site for North Queensland.  Originally it was featured here and of course the video is on vimeo.

I love making mini documentaries and taking photographs that tell stories –  it feels like a vocation.  Now I need to find more stories and more teams of people to work with.  Heck maybe even a career path.  Time for ebook and documentary bootcamps!

(c) Words and Images June Perkins, all rights reserved.