Arts and Letters Report, September 2018
By Jennifer Ann Davies
NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser
Come September – smile, smell and see
Scents of spring, salads and sea.
Scrunchy sand, salt shores, shells and skipping
Scribbles of seagulls and stars in the sky.
Come September – spring’s change is nigh. JAD
Artist Antoni GAUDI once said: “Nothing is invented, for it is written in nature first. Originality consists of returning to the origin.”
In visual art, screenplays, theatre in general, dance and literature, the point of origin is often referred to as ‘the place of the Mothers’.
Author, C.L. TAYLOR, began an unusual novel with this point of origin, taking herself and her reader on an extraordinary journey. An extract from her own notes cite three things that inspired ‘The Missing’.
“…my mother and grandmothers, my son and my love of abnormal psychology. Grandma Millie had 11 children, husband and a haulage business. Grandmother Olivia had 6 children, a husband and lived in a mining community. Only now that I have a small family of my own do I realize what incredible women they were. How strong must they have been to juggle so many children, a home, marriage and a business. How tired they must have felt when they fell into bed every night!”
You love your family.
They make you feel safe.
You trust them.
But should you?
“Haunting and heart-stoppingly creepy.” Sunday Express
C.L. Taylor – ‘The Missing’ Avon-a division of Harper Collins Publishers, LONDON 2016. www.hapercollins.co.uk
“Someone knows what happened to her son….”
Australia’s A.J. RUSHBY doesn’t return to a point of origin, but hurtles her text and the reader into yet another mystery, set right here. The text is promoted by Scholastic Australia.
What secret lies behind the door?
‘THE FIFTH ROOM’
An omnibus book from Scholastic Australia Pty.Ltd. 2017
A challenging read by an Australian author of a whole lot of books. Rushby is crazy about Mini Coopers, Devon Rex cats and high tea! You can find her at www.allisonrushby.com
…brilliant High School students in ‘the Society’s’ secret bunker, pitted against each other…
Gripping and page-turning, ‘The Fifth Room’ is a psychological thriller where no-one is to be trusted. Not even yourself. www.scholastic.com.au
Heather Taylor JOHNSON was born in the United States, but has lived in Australia since 1999. She has published two novels, of which ‘Jean Harley Was Here’, is her second; four volumes of verse and is poetry editor for Transnational Literature.
This novel is a touching and original exploration of love, relationships and the ways in which we need each other.
Hannah Kent writes: “Heather Taylor Johnson has a Poet’s understanding of the world. Her exploration of the way in which our lives intertwine, for better and for worse, is nuanced and poignant.”
This is, indeed, a book to savour.
Art Galleries recommended in the Maryborough and Wide Bay Areas!
WIDEBAY GALLERY – email@example.com
- Conservation of Art Work
- Artist quality materials
- Artist/product information
- Free monthly newsletter
BOTTLEBRUSH CRAFT CENTRE – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wool Fibrecraft
ALPHA31 ART SPACE GALLERY AND SCULPTURE GARDEN is a little further out of town – 7.9km – about 10 mins travel! www.alpha31artgallery.com.au.
Exhibited art comes in oils, water colours, pastels, acrylics and mixed media. Gallery Director, Inge Bayer welcomes all art lovers to enjoy the art exhibited inside the gallery and outside in the surrounding gardens. email@example.com
FUN IN FRENCH FILM! ‘AURORE’, directed by Blandine Lenoir, can be viewed in both French and English. A hugely entertaining blend of humour, truthfulness and sensitivity, this warm-hearted romantic comedy centres on a middle-aged woman in the midst of major personal and professional changes. Aurore is played by the wonderful Agnes JAOUI, separated from her husband and newly employed, when she discovers she is to become a grandmother!
Aurore feels as though life has come to a standstill except for the awful hot flashes!! However, actress and co-writer, Jaoui, brings touching, true-to-life poignancy to an endearing portrait of the resilience of womanhood, as an everyday heroine on the road to (re)discovery. A common experience, depicted delightfully, with lots of laughs, tears and truth! Fun.
CAIRNS TROPICAL WRITERS FESTIVAL is a huge success, with a distinct ‘place’ in the region’s ethos and events. Still growing, the biennial writes festival engages those who want to read, write, watch or just listen, for, in varied ways, we all have our own storylines and stories! I am delighted to report segments on SCREENWRITING with Craig Batty and PLAYWRITING CHARACTERS AND TURNING POINTS with Hannie Rayson.
The festival was dominated by the enriching world of ‘Letters’- simply, the nourishing world of literature. Jane CARO read from “Just Flesh and Blood”, the final book in a young adult trilogy on Queen Elizabeth 1- (UQP). Jane spoke with vivacity, great humour and the audience was deeply engaged with the vast knowledge of historical detail lacing up the story of a woman who refused to abide by all the constricting social mores of her time, one of which was the possibility of death in child-birth, as well as the possibility of a male heir, often heralding the death of the birth mother, for her ‘purpose’ was often, in royal circles, fulfilled – then – ‘off with her head’!
Caro spoke a great deal of mother/daughter relationships, which she intends to pursue in future historical novels. One inspiration was her discovery of a tiny picture of Elizabeth’s mother in a ring she had always worn! – Mother has been given a ‘voice’ by Caro – but you will have to explore her novels to discover more. Jane is the author of nine books, but probably best known for her appearances on Channel 7 Sunrise, ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Transfer. A luncheon was held, at which this vivacious author spoke of ‘Unbreakable Women’, based on two of her books. Historical novels are comforting, Caro believes, because in a world of ‘unknowns’, we already know the endings!
University of Queensland Press. CairnsTropicalWritersFestival.com
Book Launch! JENUARRIE “Gift of Knowledge” The selected works of Jenuarrie‘Koinjmal Woman’ was launched, with the NAIDOC chant ‘because of her’ resonating, reverberating…..Jenuarrrie is an artist of great stature, with a huge piece projected at the Sydney Opera House. She has a long history of working with earth/water/fire and promoting not only the beauty and creativity of the arts, but the gifts, ethos and possibilities for her people. ‘The Pacific Nation Arts,’ Jenuarrie says, ‘are still to grow!’ Like Gaudi, Jenuarrie is well aware that all creativity ‘belongs’ to the point of origin.
Jenuarrie still works at Arts Nexus and was supported by an Arts Queensland grant for her publication. She explained that the book is a missing link in Australian Art History, and that she is proud to have forged that link, having worked for a lifetime as a visual artist and potter and now turned author! Jenuarrie and I will meet in the near future and I will provide further news on this extraordinary woman.
CAIRNS FESTIVAL includes a full program that features music, art, theatre, film, comedy and more. The Cairns Esplanade has traditionally been the central heartbeat of the festival, but this year City Lights features an expanded program with mesmerising Cairns City Library projection now being complemented by multimedia installations right across the city. One of these has been developed collaboratively between AGB Events and artist Vanghoua Anthony VUE.
The work reflects the artist’s experiences growing up in Cairns and the complexities of his Hmong-Australian heritage, drawing on Vue’s experiences during cyclone seasons, the tropical surrounds, the do-it-yourself approach and resilience of Vue’s parents; and the push and pull of language, culture, identity and place. Having taught many, and written about the Hmong people and culture over the years, I am excited about this inclusion and congratulate Vang on this wonderful installation!
Many of us have Celtic ancestry and our tribes were also linked to ‘the place of the mothers’ and the natural world. From this ancient ‘place’ or point of origin, voices continue to whisper and sometimes sing…in chorus with the peoples of the Pacific Nations – in chorus with so many, all over our huge, extraordinary world…. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, hear me now….
The Mothers’ Daughter.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, sing with me…
The Mothers’ Daughter.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, thank you from
The Mothers’ Daughter.