Today I will be thinking as, an artist, writer, storyteller, of all the positive things I can do during this time of the Corona Virus pandemic!
I feel calm and resilient, but protective of the vulnerable, but unlike Cyclone Yasi, which our family went through and recovered from, we don’t know when this particular situation ends and many sadly don’t seem to fully understand the gravity or enormity (even with Italy, Spain, Belgium, France etc…) of the situation facing us … or some panic so much, they are treating it like the end of the world.
Someone said to me yesterday,’well the footy is still on, so it must be okay’, but you know what, one hour later the AFL competition was suspended for 60 days, and borders across Australia became quarantined in several states, and I wonder now if that person will take it all just a little bit more seriously.
Please if you can STAY HOME and think of all the vulnerable people we need to protect and physically distance (we are not socially and emotionally having to be apart at all, just physically.)
Spare a thought for doctors, nurses, cure researchers, teachers, and all those who will be keeping our community functioning as we batten down the hatches, and don’t go and attack people who are using Faith to get through this time.
Today powerless to do much else, I am certainly saying prayers for doctors, nurses, teachers, delivery people etc. supermarket workers. It felt so surreal to be in a supermarket very briefly for supplies and to see the markers for the distance people had to stand apart, still no toilet paper on the shelves, and also hear announcements about social distancing needing to be adhered to on the loud speakers.
Ah is this not a time to treasure and value, calm, and beauty whereever we can find it and create it? Okay off to think of all those positive things. Like the power of music! Power of art! Power of story!
[ PS we did buy a voucher for a future date to a cafe/restaurants to help a business]
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.
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’
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?’
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 EchucaLandscape, 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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
I am thinking about cradle songs and their origins.
I am thinking of their patterns and intent.
I am planning a poem about a refugee mother singing a lullaby.
That lullaby is full of love and hope.
That lullaby comforts them both.
I am imagining where she sings that song.
I am seeing her when she knows that hope is gone.
I am seeing her pick herself up and keep on dreaming on.
Will you join me and listen to her song?
Will you put yourself into her journey?
Will you welcome her to your shores?
Will you add your own verse?
May your week be full of things that spur you to climb any wall keeping you back from achieving your dream, and don’t forget to have the climbing gear you need on hand and the perfect climbing boots…
I’m busy writing a chapter book and finding out lots of things about famous people and their pets. Audrey Hepburn and a fawn, Mozart and a Starling, and Abraham Lincoln and a pig… Non fiction genres definitely calling.
I love being in the flow of writing on a daily basis, but there’s always walls to climb … even if it’s for the characters.
So today for PiBoIdMo – I was inspired by this post Plot Twists that Zing. You just have to head over to it and have a read of that post and look at the books it talks about. I just loved it!
I am looking for story ideas that have a clever twist, an xfactor that makes you want to read from the title alone. It’s about pushing the limits, nothing is too crazy or out of the way.
It’s going to be fun. What will I put into my magic zing list? What is my recipe for zing, gleaned from the Picture Book Den, fabulous blog. Plot Twists that Zing?
Think of a favourite animal, in my case from Far North Queensland where I used to live, or maybe go with one of the animals I know well like guinea pigs or Minor Birds (make sure it is something other people don’t write about though).
Combine it with something kids love, pirates, fairies, wizards, magic, or dragons.
Give them an unusual problem that doesn’t come immediately to mind, maybe drawn from a reality show, house sharing, cooking, music talent show.
Remove something essential from a fairy tale and put something else in it to make it zing.
Check no-one else has done this, and then adopt the process again, until I have generated several ideas, then pick one to work with.
I hope you find your zing today too. I am going to apply this same rule to my chapter book. Already I am excited about the writing day.