Delighted to have a new collection of poetry for the bicentennial year, almost edited. These were some of the comments back from Beta readers. They also offered some great constructive critique as well to improve the work. I thank them so much for their time, guidance and beautiful words.
Will be sharing some of these poems for the first time in public on the opening night of Illumine
Comments on June’s new collection
I enjoyed the stream of consciousness. Some of the poems reminded me of Rabindranath Tagore’s work. I related to the references to Holy Spirit and reference to Joseph in poems like Art as a Gift of the Holy Spirit and Dear Artist.
Very deeply felt and flowing verse, reminding me of thought patterns in the Eastern spiritual tradition. The Poetry Bird / Swirling, Almost Something / Prince of Peace / The Dreamer each struck a…
Ruha Fifita was born in Vava’u, Tonga, in 1990 and has spent most of her life with her family in Vava’u, Ha’apai, and Tongatapu. In 2006 she co-founded ON THE SPOT (OTS), an arts organisation aimed at exploring and utilising the arts as a tool for community building. She sees Tongan culture as a living entity and hopes her artwork inspires young people to take ownership of it. Ruha has a degree in Creative Industries from the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. She is currently Pacific Arts Research Assistant for the GOMA and is extensively involved in community building in the Goodna and scenic rim area.
You can see the latest Nineteen Months contributions HERE
Above is a slide show of my contributions to the site over the last three years. If you visit the site you can read the quotations that were placed with them.
Here are just a few:
“Know ye that the world is like unto a mirage which the thirsty one thinks to be water; its water is a vapor; its mercy a difficulty; its repose hardship and ordeal; leave it to its people and turn unto the Kingdom of your Lord the Merciful.”
-Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith
“O banished and faithful friend! Quench the thirst of heedlessness with the sanctified waters of My grace, and chase the gloom of remoteness through the morning-light of My Divine presence.”
-Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah
“The sun is the same sun, no matter from what sign it may manifest itself or from what spot it may arise. Thou must look at the Sun; do not become veiled by the places from which the Sun appears.”
-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas
June: Renee – what led you to work with paper sculptures?
Renee: The desire to develop my practice and the love of sculptures created the impetus to evolve from 2-dimensional to 3-dimensional works.
My paper-sculptures require intricate hand-cutting and working with sharp tools, which I can only attribute to influences from south pacific oceanic art. My parents can attest to my early love of trawling through craft markets, PNG Arts warehouses and the National Museum in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
When working with paper, it is difficult not to draw inspiration from the art of origami. The process of transforming the flat-paper medium into a constructed form is always magical!
June: What are the challenges and advantages of working in these media?
Renee: Ha!Ha!Ha! I will try to be brief
One of the challenges is the commitment of labour-intensive hours. Preparing for an exhibition involves a long-lead timeline, self-discipline and many re-heating of cups of tea. My practice is only possible because I have the support of my amazing family and husband!
Another challenge is sourcing my paper as I am very selective about the quality of the paper. The paper I am currently using comes all the way from the UK in a 10 meter roll. Then there is the challenge of transporting the roll of paper to my studio, which is nestled within Torndirrup National Park in regional Western Australia.
The lovely advantage of working with paper is the cleaning-up. No splatters. No fumes. The only spills are from that neglected cup of coffee.
June: What are the main inspirations with your work (discuss a couple of examples)? (Tell me about any other paper artists and you can mention about spiritual inspirations such as – the paper cut for Tahirih?)
Renee: Reflecting on your question, I feel that works are inspired by story boards. Artisans along the mighty Sepik River (in Papua New Guinea) engrave their stories on panels of wood. The story boards would depict their village occupation, life, flora and fauna.
The contents of my works are inspired by stories and events concerning humanity. For example, for an exhibition entitled ‘Journeys of the Intrepid Woman’ (2012, ArtGeo, Western Australia), I was very privileged to present a series of works informed by the true story of Tahirih the Pure (1817 – 1847 approx). The first woman suffrage martyr was not from the West, but this young woman from Qazvin, Persia (today, Iran). Tahirih’s courageous life inspires millions of people today.
Being a Bahá’í also provides the further catalyst to grow my skills. The Bahá’í Writings allude to the central role of artists in society, stating that “…the true worth of artists and craftsmen should be appreciated, for they advance the affairs of mankind.”
Wow!!! what a profound role of the arts!!
Note: the quote is by Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), from a tablet translated from the Persian, cited in “Extracts from the Writings Concerning Arts and Crafts,” in The Compilation of Compilations, Vol.1, Mona Vale: Bahá’í Publications Australia, 1991, p. 1.]
June: Can you tell me a bit more about the one you did on the Papua New Guinean lady with the string bag on her head (I think)
Renee: The “lady with a bilum” work expresses my gratitute to the wonderful people and communities of Papua New Guinea. My teenage years (1980‘s) were spent in Port Moresby where my parents were working as educators. I feel that the Papua New Guinean community was like my spiritual mother; her nurturing and love played a profound role in those formative years.
A ‘bilum’ is a Papua New Guinean string bag, traditionally woven from natural string fibres, sometimes incorporating possum-hair. Bilums are used to carry sleeping children and food crops.
June: What has been the highlight of your arts practice and career?
Renee: The highlight of my art practice is when I was able to collaborate with other makers and creators.
The below are my growth-&-soul feeding events:
Working with Dr Marjorie Tidman and Naysan Faizi on Marjorie’s book cover for ‘Sifting The Dust – God and the Mad Psychologist’;
Working with Shameem Taheri-Lee and Jason Eshragian on the Under One Sun music video;
Prop-making for Delia Olam’s play at the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Note: Delia will be performing at the Edinburgh 2016 Fringe Festival.
Follow Renee on facebook Renee Farrant Art She is happy to consider commissions for paper cut cover art.
Thanks so much Renee for dropping by the blog and sharing your thoughts and practice on just how profound art can be.