Arts and Letters Report, May 2017
By Jennifer Ann Davies
NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser
Then and Now
Uniquely Human Things…
CASA DOS AZULEJOS
Rua Josefa d’Obidos
AUTHENTIC PORTUGUESE HANDMADE TILES
A space and sanctuary of great beauty, which has, in fact, been featured on Australian television and which can also be viewed online, revealing the age-old talents of a celebrated Craftswoman!
Thick, genuine tiles are made the way the masters crafted them, eons ago – patterns representing different areas, different trades, different crafts – a little like the Guilds of the United Kingdom and Europe!
In the twilight of tradition.
Touching and trusting tradition
Transmitted over time
Tales without taboo
…so – for a tile, a talisman – genuinely handcrafted in traditional style, authentically solid, unlike the mass-produced copies, in the picturesque, medieval site of OBIDOS, visit the Craftswoman – or contact her online….
In Porto, in the north, I thought of the German mathematician, Bernhard RIEMANN, whose hypothesis on Space/Time lives on, truly, in the world of memorabilia – our world of uniquely human ‘things’!!
Rua das Flores, 18
4050-262 Porto, Portugal
This interesting shop is a beautifully presented haven of old and new. Objects of social history nestle amongst stunningly designed and beautifully coloured fabrics for today’s clothing and craft. A visit will invite and delight and, just like the juncture in space/time, where it is argued both curve back upon themselves, you will sense, feel, smell the things of yesterday mingled with those of today!
NEWS! –an idiosyncratic perspective from a visitor..
The term ‘news’ generally meant news that directly affects you!! There was, quite literally, nothing about the antelope, stingers; the sea horse or the red-eared slider turtle; the night parrot rediscovered or the other nine million species on planet Earth! The ‘news’, the visitor continued, was prioritised inexplicably – eg: nothing at all on new mathematical observations or still undiscovered polygons, but lots on politics, war and money.
Is the world characterised by violence and greed – bombs – falling stock markets – lots of caring about ‘things’? Did Bukowski’s ‘Ham on Rye’ create any new direction on metaphors for the human condition?
In addition, you see, to “…religion, colonisation, disease, racism, sexism, homophobia, class snobbery, environmental destruction, slavery, totalitarianism, military dictatorships, inventions of things…(people)…have NO idea how to handle : (the atomic bomb, the internet, the semi-colon) – the victimisation of clever people, the worshipping of idiotic people, boredom, despair, periodic collapses and catastrophes within the psychic landscape…”!
‘The Humans’ MATT HAIG Canongate Books Ltd Edinburgh EH1 2013 p.77
People find books
C Jennifer Ann Davies 2017
People of today are vulnerable, and in that vulnerability lies the quintessence of pain, from which, perhaps, Love generates? “It belongs to the perfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.” Soren Kierkegaard ‘Fear & Trembling’
Perhaps we all want to argue that? Perhaps many of us prefer the immediacy and reality of books, touch, kids, bubbles, art, laughing, already knowing the vulnerability which is inherent in our humanity?
I have never been sure whose poetic words would make Emily Dickinson smile, or nod or whisper shyly in someone’s ear….however, a recent, poignant message from Israel, commenting on some of my own works, made me smile and reassured me that the ‘whispering’ continues….
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” EMILY DICKINSON
Then and Now – on Beauty and Caring – “I was mesmerised by her voice when she spoke about historical things. It had a delicacy to it, each sentence a long, thin arm carrying the past as if it were porcelain.” Matt HAIG ‘The Humans’ p.210
VISUAL ART! – BRETT WHITELEY Other Places (Somewhere Else)
The Cairns Art Gallery has issued invitations for this new exhibition which we are immensely lucky to have because of the ongoing sponsorship by the Art Gallery of NSW, as they are the principal sponsor of the Brett Whitley Studio. Special guest will be Wendy Whiteley, wife of the acclaimed Australian artist.
In the times of withdrawal of sponsorships and funding for the arts, this is a heartening sponsorship and event! –
28th April – 2 July 2017. CAIRNS ART GALLERY – Cnr Shields and Abbott Streets email@example.com
THE SPIRIT OF QUEENSLAND – Queensland Rail – Train from Cairns to Brisbane – WHAT does an Adviser DO?????
I have just returned from some family events in Mackay, a regional city of an estimated 175,000 people. Enroute, an interesting gentleman, wonderfully versed in mathematics and science, suggested that I might inform myself about the Carrington Event, about which I know nothing at all. In our conversation, he also asked WHAT an Adviser does…..! A sound question, indeed…thusly I told him: AN ADVISER INFORMS, NOTIFIES AND OFFERS ADVICE BASED ON RESEARCHED, OBSERVED SCRUTINY FROM WHICH DELIBERATE, COLNSIDERED ATTENTION AND/OR JUDICIOUS OR IMPRUDENT ACTION MAY FOLLOW.
AN ADVISER OFFERS ADVICE, RECOMMENDS CAUTION, MOTION, ACTION OR INACTION ON THE MATTERS RELEVANT TO HER/HIS BRIEF/PORTFOLIO.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary
LIVE THEATRE – MR TAKAHASHI and other falling secrets!
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
Shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award
A wonderful ‘then and now’ experience for hushed audiences – and I have been lucky enough to have the script of this commemorative, cleverly crafted, confronting play. Thibodeaux presents intertwined stories, evoking a torrid era of wartime woes and race relations, in her own exceptional style. Her ability to tell the tale of what it was like to be ‘ Darwinese ‘, to grow up in this unique multicultural community, is what is so confronting. The live performances provide faint echoes of a community where the picture theatre was the social hub for families setting up stores outside Chinatown; where they sold iced lemon squash and sewed for soldiers…the echoes are of many of our remote and regional townships! Katrina Fong Lim: Lord Mayor of Darwin NT
Fantastic use was made of old rhymes and haunting music.
“Something’s wrong – the air is shifting
Waiting for the tardy storms
You could cut the humidity
With the sword of a Samurai.
Where is the Imperial Army?
Darwin, 1942. A town collapses under the threat of invasion. Mothers and daughters, sisters, friends and entire cultures are torn apart by the secrets that start to fail. Is Mr Takahashi to blame?
Japan unleashes a wave of attacks on Northern Australia, and Darwin is hit with more bombs than Pearl Harbour. Mr Takahashi turns the lens upon ordinary people caught in the storm that was World War 11. It tells the stories of Darwin’s multicultural and Indigenous women whose lives were forever changed by the bombings of February 19.
(Script: CURRENCY PRESS www.currency.com.au)
We think of war as something that happens somewhere else. We see bombing raids in Aleppo and are horrified, although distant. Refugees are people elsewhere, caked in blood and dust, clutching the hands of their children.
…but this was us….digging loved ones out from collapsed buildings. It wasn’t so long ago. There are people still alive who remember the 19th of February and the long road out of Darwin to somewhere safe… Sandra Thibodeaux
…It is not often that stories of war are told solely through the eyes of women. In this beautifully told story, Sandra has woven together the lives of eleven women and a chorus of school children drawn from the cultural melting pot that is Darwin.
This is a story of friendship, love, heartbreak, betrayal, regret and fear that reveals a community under pressure. It is a delight for a director…. Suellen Maunder, Director, JUTE Theatre Company.