Arts and Letters Report June 2017

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Who are You…

In this shifting landscape?

Jennifer Ann Davies c 2017

LITERATURE:

  1. My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo – Madonna Lisa – Monna Lisa… Ch 1. P3.

“My likeness has been recorded on wood, with boiled linseed and pigments dug from the earth or crushed from semi-precious stones…applied with brushes made from the feathers of birds and the silken fur of animals.

I have seen the painting. It does not look like me.” PAINTING MONA LISA. Jeanne KALOGRIDIS, Harper Collins Publishers, London, 2006.

In the year 1490, the people of Florence often went to an Astrologer to ‘divine’ a match – a marriage! The outcomes and influences of the prophecies and divinations were often instrument in changing people and history – the liaisons forged and forced were for alternative purposes; more often than not to preserve or obtain lands, wealth, position, power and all shaped the socio-political landscape of the time.

DESTINY can be an odd thing. It is too often forged by false concepts, force and manipulations of boundaries and beliefs. ‘Destiny’ can become an inextricably flawed notion, which leads the gullible, the fearful, and the less self-confident into a state of new dependency. This dependency, whether forced or innate, may then lead to patterns of external attribution that prohibit authenticity, congruent self-discovery and effectively block acting from one’s own depths…

In the extraordinary, vibrant, historically distinctive novel by Jeanne KALOGRIDIS, apart from enjoying a marvellous read, the reader may see a likeness – or may, indeed, witness what has been sketched or said, and know…”It does not look like me”! ‘PAINTING MONA LISA’ – a must read!!!!

VISUAL ART:

Australia’s Tracey MOFFATT was selected to represent Australia at the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2017. Her stunning, startling and sometimes poignant exhibits will be in the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini. This exhibition is curated by Natalie KING.

Brisbane born, the Artist, over an estimated 25 years, is highly regarded for the formal and stylistic experimentation in film, photography and videos and she draws on the history of cinema, art and photography; popular culture and her own childhood memories and fantasies, for her subject matter. Ultimately, Tracey Moffatt’s work deals with the human condition in all its complexities – and, she stated, solidly and comfortably, in a recent television interview, she doesn’t let ‘race’ define her or her art!

A refreshing, vibrant Australian Woman Artist, with works exhibited in major galleries in Australia, Sweden, Italy and New York, Tracey Moffatt is considered a ‘future luminary’ in her field. Roslyn OXLEY9 Gallery, Sydney/Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York.

Salute!

Founded in 1895, the VENICE BIENNALE is the oldest and largest established biennale in the world!

www.australiacouncil.gov.au

 

A GIFT FROM QUEENSLAND BALLET…From….To…with love xx

As Odette/Odile, Yanela PINERA, took her curtain call in the final performance of the recent production of SWAN LAKE – the spotlight moved….away from Odette…to beam upon two beloved, familiar family figures – Yanela’s mother and her sister!! The Cuban performer was overjoyed! Queensland Ballet Company had organised passports and flown the beautiful Ballerina’s family halfway across the world! Yanela’s mother, Maria, had never before left Havana, CUBA – but this was a very, very special Mother’s Day gift from Queensland, Australia, and from the world of Ballet! Tim Douglas, Weekend Australian May 20-21, 2017, p.3 theaustralian.com.au/review

 

SPECIAL ISSUE: THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE OF GENDER: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

“To a degree unimaginable a decade ago, the intensely personal subject of gender identity has entered the public square. In this special issue…….we look at cultural, social, biological and political aspects of gender…” National Geographic. January 2017

This is a full publication devoted entirely to ‘the shifting landscape’ of gender in our contemporary world. Whilst all content may be of interest, I indicate the following because of its complete relevance to our organisation, our own ‘shifting landscape’ as we re-develop and re-define roles, responsibilities and reach out to our contemporaries around the globe!

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WOMEN AND MEN MOST – AND LEAST – EQUAL?

“Since 2006, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report has tracked progress toward ending gender inequality by measuring women’s and men’s educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation, and political empowerment……..Women still lag behind economically and politically: Not a single country has reached parity in those arenas.” (10 countries have produced data that indicates equality is closest to being achieved in health and education). Kelsey NOWAKOWSKI. GRAPHIC: Alvaro. Valino. Kelsey Nowakowski. Source: World Economic Forum.

Whilst Saadia Zahidi’s comment that “What you can measure, you can address”, may ring true in some circumstances, it must be noted that a country’s income level is not necessarily a predictor of equality, notably in Japan, South Korea and Kuwait, which actually rank in the bottom third of the published index, while the Philippines and Nicaragua are in the top 15!

The gender tap shrank in most countries over the past 10 years. Nordic countries have made gender equality and social progress core development goals. ICELAND closed its education gap in 2009 and ranks first in political empowerment. The gender gap widened in Croatia, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Mali and Jordan. Interesting data exists in relation to China, India, America, the Middle East and North Africa. The Index has regularly measured 109 countries between 2006 and 2015. Data constraints excluded other countries.

 

THE TOP 10 COUNTRIES ON THE EXISTING WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM GENDER GAP INDEX

ICELAND

NORWAY

FINLAND

SWEDEN

IRELAND

PHILIPPINES

SWITZERLAND

SLOVENIA

NEW ZEALAND

GERMANY                (Australia sits at Number 30)

***                             ***                             ***                             ***

The index is only a snapshot of the disparity between the sexes. From this snapshot, the following has been published in the 2017 special edition of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

HEALTH: Health disparity increased in large economies such as India and China, widening the global gap by a fraction.

EDUCATION: Twenty percent of nations offer equal access to education, up from 14 percent in 2006. Sub-Saharan Africa has the widest gap.

ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION: This gap is slowly closing. North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean improved the most.

POLITICS: This gap is shrinking fastest, but it has the farthest to go. Quotas for women in politics are common in top-ranking countries.

SHADOW AND SHIFTING LANDSCAPES…Identity….Equality….Ours is, indeed, an immeasurably interesting world! The main character, a young male, in an unusual novel, ‘FEAR NOTHING’, has an horrendous disease which disallows his being in any light – sunlight – electric light – direct or indirect light – he lives Life in darkness and shadow….

This darkened world is his. This world of shadow and non-light is his Destiny, yet he deeply values the loyalty of his old dog, Orson, and the depths of the night ocean! What may, perhaps, seem dark, to us, becomes beautiful, to him. His gift of sight, becomes different – other – as, perhaps, does the sight employed by Orson!?

“The dog knew what the ringing meant. He padded out of the shadows into the candleglow, and stared sorrowfully at me…..Perhaps Orson (the dog) SEES what other dogs see…and perhaps he is disturbed by it….but is not intimidated.

He is a strange dog…but he is my dog, my steadfast friend and I love him.” p.4 ‘Fear Nothing;’ Bantam NY 1998

“God, I love the sea at night. It is darkness distilled into a liquid – the only light that ever arises in the ocean is from bioluminescent plankton, which became radiant when disturbed – and although they can make an entire wave glow an intense lime green, their brightness is friendly to my eyes…..the night sea contains nothing from which I must hide or from which I must even look away.” P.177

….and so we go forth, armed with truths and knowledge and data and sad-making facts and confronting footage – yet our worlds ‘contain nothing from which (we) must hide or from which (we) must even look away…’

 

Avanti! Adieu!

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