Magic Fish Dreaming interview


You can read an Interview with Ali Stegert on Magic Fish Dreaming HERE.

Magic Fish Dreaming is a children’s picture book project written by my friend and crit-buddy June Perkins and illustrated by Helene Magisson. Today, I interview the author about her beautiful work and her dream of bringing the project to fruition.

A Dreamy Book for Youngsters

Ali: “A dreamy book for youngsters” is my five-word description of your book. How about you describeMagic Fish Dreaming in five words?” HERE.

It’s all in the Side Tracks: Piece 2

close-up of artists with Earth Songs (c) Jenni Martiniello

Jenni  was out having a smoke the first time we really had a chat.

I am not a smoker, but was at a large conference and decided to have a brief time out to think about all the debate that was going on; somehow I ended up with Jenni and two or three others who were having a literal smoko on the steps of where the conference was held.

Something about her manner invited easy yarning.  We must’ve spoken about what I was studying in university.  She was Arrente and Chinese background with an Italian surname, perhaps to protect her when children were often taken from their Aboriginal families.   We were both poets.  Yet, we covered all sorts of topics in that first real chat that weren’t just what we had in common.  We were after all at a conference on Pacific and Indigenous Representations in media, film and literature.

She had heard me speak, and I her, and perhaps this knowledge of each other’s intellectual and spiritual grounding is what made the conversation take off a lot more than your usual on the steps yarn with someone you barely know.  Yet, with Jenni it’s been like I’ve always known her.

By the end of the conference, where we seemed often to be side by side at conference dinners and many lectures, she had invited me to an Indigenous Storytelling camp and to meet several Aboriginal writers.

Since that first meeting we’ve performed poetry in the same spaces.  I’ve learnt from her about innovations in glass art, poetry capes and soundscapes. I’ve heard all about her lifelong dream trip to Egypt.  She sold her car to help with that one.

She inspires me with the quiet way she teaches without appearing to teach.

Once we drove back from a camp together.  She stopped several times along the way to study the landscape, waterfalls, and an old antique shop.  There was no hurry, but rather an exploration of the journey and an enacting of the idea that it’s the journey not the destination that is important.

I realise now my life the last decade or so has been stopping in the side tracks to explore and discover who I am – as a writer, artist, mother, human being and photographer.

Jenni  has never been far away, always at the end of the phone, and yet it would be up lifting to stand on the steps, outside a conference, or be together around a fire once again.

Even when there is silence we know that we are thinking of each other.   I can hear her telling me in the one time she has been on a trip up North near where I live ‘there’s a world of possibilities, and ‘where you live now is truly a brilliant place to write.’

My favourite memory is being with her and several other emerging  writers under the stars.  We were telling stories about our lives, talking about the colour of the flames, and watching as the fire died down to its final embers.

I remember thinking of eternity spinning in that conversation for all to see and be in, and thinking that people can connect across cultures, ages, time and space.

I see her, a strong woman standing under a big open night sky, whose words and art will have power after she is gone.  Often I wish she lived around the corner, or just up the road, in this big vast land we both call home.

Inspired by the Who Shaped Me project for ABC Open, this month’s  Pearlz Dreaming blog theme will be about the people who inspire me and there are lots of them! Goal 19 pieces on Who Shaped Me.

Sacred Country Unwrapped

11th February to 25th of March 2007

Congratulations to Jenni and Kerry who have an upcoming exhibition. As usual the tyranny of distance means I can’t make it to the opening but there is no reason some people reading this blog can’t make it.

Sacred Country Unwrapped an exhibition of photography at the Collector Gallery, brings together the work of two prominent Aboriginal women, Jennifer Martiniello and Kerry Reed-Gilbert.

Where: Collector Gallery 22 Church St

When: Saturdays 1-5pm, Sunday 11-5.30pm Other times by appointment

phone 02-48480073   mobile 0419 492 658

Jenni presents 16 magnificent aerial photographs of traditional and sacred Aboriginal countries, including her grandmother’s and father’s traditional countries in the far north of South Australia. A further 6 arresting works capture the enduring spiritual nature of land and water.

Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, born in Adelaide, South Australia of Arrernte, Chinese and Anglo-Celtic descent, has over 20 years experience working in the arts and professional and community development.

Kerry’s photography has been hung in numerous exhibitions including at the nner Sydney Gallery Boomalli Aboriginal Artists co-operative, one of Australia’s longest running Aboriginal owned and operated Art Galleries and Co-operatives. Her work is held in the AIATSIS and the Australia Council collections, was included in the Sydney and Athens Olympics and will be shown in Beijing as part of the Indigenous Australians Now exhibition.

Kerry Reed-Gilbert, a Wiradjuri woman from central NSW, has written extensively since the 1990s, addressing issues, concerns and interests elevant to Indigenous people. Her photography, a more recent expression of her messenger role, fills the same purpose.

The exhibition of 40 photographs, will be opened on Sunday 11 February at 3pm by Brenda L. Croft, Senior Curator for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia.

The exhibition, curated by Wathaurong artist Lyndy Delian, continues until 25 March. Members of the public are warmly invited to the opening.

Inheriting My Grandmothers Gardens – Jenni Martiniello

This work is included here courtesy of Jennifer Martiniello, a fabulous writer and artist.  Many of her works incorporate image and text.  She works on fabric, ceramic, wall, and paper.She will soon let me know of a website where you can puchase her work.  Last time we met she was in the process of having her work catalogued as well as researching a book.

Last year Jenni came to visit me at my home and we went out to the beaches in my area for her to take some photos.  It was inspiring to see through her camera’s eyes.

I look forward to seeing some of that trip transformed into engaging works of art.  I will be including links to her works on this blog, so look down the side and there you will find them.