NCWQ Arts and Letters Report January 2020

The latter days of 2019 folded and parcelled the year with gifts of joyful choral sounds, and traditional folk and classical music from many cultures. Along our coastline TENORI TIMELESS shared a classic collection of songs that remain as current as the day they were written. Puccini, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lloyd-Webber, Simon & Garfunkel and Verdi are but a few. Costume, cheer, music, song and beautiful art shaped thoughts and feelings, both new and old, as the country held open arms to welcome a New Year.

In addition to wonderful exhibitions in the city of Brisbane and in Queensland’s regions, our National Gallery brought us exquisite pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from the TATE; Monet’s 1872 work ‘Impression Sunrise’, about which he had stated “Eventually my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time.” Claude Monet Imagine the pride and excitement of our early Women Artists and Sculptors, archived by NCWQ; Lynda Sampson Searle, Denise Pommeranz, Dorothy Hartnett, Debbie Scott, Wendy Mills, Clare Llewelyn and the Far North’s Ellen Jose, viewing more and more new works, housed with the ‘old masters’! Australians are still able to view two titans of the global art world, who, it is claimed, sparred – ‘traded jobs and parrying blows to redefine the nature of beauty in art’. National Gallery of Australia: program MATISSE and PABLO PICASSO are on display until 13 April 2020. In the context of their sparring, this, also, has been recorded: “No one has ever looked at Matisse’s painting more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he.” Pablo Picasso SDGs 4/10/17

Our early Women Artists and Sculptors, Monet, Matisse and Picasso looked beyond the WHAT and explored the HOW and the WHY! 

In a major investment in education, a new permanent gallery is being established, which will be supported by an online resource centre for teachers, parents and students nationwide. Adjacent will be a new gallery space for the first creative learning centre, dedicated to the exploration and making of art in all its forms. All this has been made possible through the generosity of Tim Fairfax AC. www.nga.gov.au/visiting/familySDGs 3/4/5/10/17

Arts, Letters, Science, Literacy, Numeracy and Learning are in the spotlight! Few, however, are brave enough to speak bleak truths about these matters, but choose to evade responsibility for a weakening in many arenas, by blaming. One hopes that this New Year will reveal truths that have been avoided, and that we can, now, work with the HOW and the WHY and not just the WHAT of deficiencies. The Daily Telegraph has written: ‘…the inconvenient truth is that parents most certainly have had a hand in dumbing down our younger generations.’ Louise Roberts/p.13 Thurs Dec 5 2019. Much is attributed to ‘time-poor’ kids and not ‘time-poor’ parents. Students are claimed to be a full academic year behind in reading and science when compared with PISA results from the year 2000. 

Allusions are made to teachers who have a political cause to push – this assuredly exists in some Queensland public schools! Additionally, suggestions are made that if a child is considered ‘average’ teachers have basically given up on that child. Considered opinion and research has revealed that our kids, in Queensland schools, have done poorly in Maths, in NAPLAN testing, not necessarily because they don’t understand the Maths; or because teachers are seconded as Maths teachers, without adequate training – but because they are not sufficiently literate when reading the QUESTIONS in the Maths segment. Our children, our students and numbers of our teachers CANNOT AND DO NOT READ FOR MEANING. Because this is so, tricky questions can confuse them and consequently they are unsure WHAT they are meant to be doing to respond adequately and accurately to questions. This is not peculiar only to Maths, but contributes significantly to poor outcomes. 

So WHAT really is the message? We can see WHY things need to change, but HOWdo we change thing?  Parents – Get involved and stay involved! Some studies have revealed that the students whose parents have read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. Parent’s engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance. One teacher, who is also a mum, responded to queries on HOW we are currently educating our kids – ‘Too much, too fast. Inconsistency, over stimulation, less time on basics, no quality practice in maths so kids are reinforcing their learning, going beyond their understanding too soon and setting them up for a long battle to catch up.” Additionally, because the inability to read for meaning continues to diminish, this teacher/mum responded: ‘Reading is a dying skill as we are overloaded and over stimulated. Kids’ brains are not thinking how we used to because we don’t read for pleasure or enjoyment anymore. READ TO YOUR CHILDREN NO MATTER THEIR AGE, GET THEM OFF THEIR DEVICES. EVEN USING TECHNOLOGY FOR READING HELP IS NOT READING FOR MEANING.’ There are composite reasons WHY this deficit exists – we now need to support and work on HOW to address such vital matters.  www.dailytelegraph.com.au SDGs 3/4/17

WriterMark MANSON, in an hilarious, confronting and refreshing book, reminds us that it is ok to be wrong…remembering that “…Five hundred years ago cartographers believed that California was an island. Doctors believed that slicing a person’s arm open (or causing bleeding anywhere) could cure disease. Scientists believed that fire was made out of something called phlogiston. Women believed that rubbing dog urine on their face had anti-ageing benefits. Astronomers believed that the sun revolved around the earth…” p.117 Ch. 6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* Pan Macmillan Aust Pty Ltd. Sydney NSW 2000, 2016, 2017. 

This interesting young writer also reasons that ‘Failure is the way forward…Pain is Part of the Process…’ – which allows us to revisit current teaching delivery and important issues and change practices. The examples used are extreme, but so is our current plight!

‘When Pablo Picasso was an old man, he was sitting in a café in Spain, doodling on a used napkin. A woman sitting near him was looking on in awe. Picasso finished his coffee and crumpled up the napkin to throw away….”Wait!” said the woman, “Can I have that napkin you were just drawing on? I’ll pay you for it.”

“Sure,” Picasso replied. “Twenty thousand dollars.”

The woman’s head jolted back – “What? It took you like two minutes to draw that.”

“No, ma’am….It took me over sixty years to draw this.” He stuffed the napkin in his pocket and walked out of the café.’ pp.147/148

Change – ’In the 1950s, a Polish psychologist,Kazimierz DABROWSKI studied WW11 survivors. Traumatic, gruesome, mass starvation, bombings, the Holocaust, torture, rape and/or murder of family members, if not by Nazis, then a few years later by the Soviets…..Dabrowski noticed something surprising and amazing. A sizeable percentage of them believed that the wartime experiences, though painful and traumatic, had actually caused them to become better, more responsible, and even happier people. Many described their lives before as if they’d been different people then: ungrateful for and unappreciative of their loved ones, lazy and consumed by petty problems, entitled to all they’ve been given. After the war, they felt more confident, more sure of themselves, more grateful and unfazed by life’s trivialities and petty annoyances.  p.151

DECISIONS AND CHANGE ARE BASED ON VALUES. Manson defines Good Values as those that are……

  • Reality based
  • Socially constructive
  • Immediate and controllable

Poorer Values he defines as those that are…..

  • Superstitious
  • Socially destructive
  • Not immediate or controllable – Ihope all of the above may be useful for us to confront problems openly and effectively and enable us to change things. Please do not be offended by the wording of the book title* SDGs 1/2/3/4/16/17

FEMALE ‘SOFT POWER’ STEERS COURSE OF HISTORY – Writer, Miranda DARLING and Art expert, Viola RAIKHEL-BOLOT, describe the extraordinary women they want to showcase to the world through books and documentaries created by their newly formed production company VANISHING PICTURES. These women want to tell the stories that have been hidden – they allude to “…soft power – and the power of art and culture is ‘soft power’,” says Darling. 

Dividing their time between London and Sydney, the busy pair have produced the book IRAN MODERN: THE EMPRESS OF ART, all about a $US3bn lost art collection assembled by the former empress, Farah Pahlavi in the 1970s. That famous collection includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Warhol and Dali. Darling and Raikhel-Bolot are now working on a book about female spies. This includes Australian spy Nancy WAKE, known as “The White Mouse”. Milanda Rout, p.3: 5 Dec 2019/www.theaustralian.com.au   SDGs 4/5/12/17                           

A magnificent read! – ‘THE IDIOT GODS’ “Spectacular world-making.” The Times. 

AN EPIC TALE OF A QUEST FOR A NEW WAY OF LIFE ON EARTH. Written by David Zindell and told from the perspective of Arjuna the Whale ….this is a uniquely moving novel of the sea, exquisitely written, with a rare depth of perception, awareness, grace and hope, in symbiosis with an even rarer breadth of courage and wisdom! 

A rarity for avid readers! I had to resort to Fowler and old publications of The Oxford Dictionary at times and I read zillions of books…very, very beautiful. One word we will not discover in any of the above, is ‘quenge’.  To ‘quenge’, the reader is told, is the most quintessential part of a whale’s true nature…inexplicable though this may be. p.14

Ignoring the human peculiarities, the many strands of excrescence – ‘nets’ the humans called them – Arjuna wanted to hear the music. “And what music they made! And how they made it! I swam toward the boat, drawn by the mighty Beethoven chords that somehow sounded from beneath the water. The density of this marvellous blue substance magnified the marvel of the music. Joy, pure joy, zinged through my skin. I moved even closer to the boat and to the music’s mysterious source beneath the rippling waves. “

“O what a song I have for you!” I said to the humans. I knew that if I was to touch their hearts as they had touched mine, I must go deep inside myself to speak with the monsters and the angels that dwelled there. “Here, humans, here, here – please listen to this song of myself!” pp86/87 When Arjuna of the Blue Aria Family encounters three signs of cataclysm, he leaves his home in the Arctic Ocean to seek out the Idiot Gods and ask us why we are destroying the world. But the whales’ ancient Song of Life is beyond our understanding, and we know nothing of the Great Covenant between our kinds.

After capture and starvation and being forced to do tricks in a tiny pool, the Orca’s love for a human linguist gives him hope. As the whales’ beloved ocean turns toward the Blood Solstice, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance; for if Arjuna gains the Voice of Death he could destroy mankind. If understanding can prevail, he may, through the whales’ mysterious power of quenging, create a new Song of Life and enable human evolution to unfold. Harper Collins Publishers, London 2017     SDGs 2/3/4/6/14/17

Welcome to 2020 on Planet Earth – Very Best Wishes to All

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report February 2020

Queensland’s extraordinary and prolific Poet and Author, Stefanie BENNETT haspublished over a dozen volumes of poetry, a libretto and a novel. She has tutored in The Institute of Modern Languages (James Cook University); acted as a published editor and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed heritage (Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee), she was born in Queensland, Australia in 1945. Stefanie, an ex-blues singer and musician, has been fluent internationally in poetry online and in print journals, and nominated for Best of the Net and The Pushcart! Of ALL her outstanding attributes, Stefanie has kept Poetry and Poets alive and well for as long as humanly possible! A stunning record – Salut, my Dear Friend!

“…Of all the women poets she has the greatest range and her writing is interesting even when it’s pretentious.” Frank Kellaway

“There are pieces of excellence, a call, at once witty and emotional for enduring, intelligent sisterhood.” Cheryl Frost

“No-one knew for sure where you were really at…now onward for your love of all the poets.” Robert Adamson

HOKA-HEY = COMPLETENESS – Selected HAIKU – Stefanie BENNETT

Published by Burringbah Books. Purchases: P.O. Box 1006 LISMORE NSW 2480

SUMMIT

A chorus of blackbirds:

the eye

of the sky

CASH & CARRY

It’s what didn’t get said

that matters

most

SDGs 3/4/5/8/10/12/17

A world of Music!! Sitting with friends discussing the Cornish film Fisherman‘s Friends, in which a fast-living London music executive heads to a remote Cornish village, trying to sign up a group of shanty singing fishermen. Contrasting the deep values of family, friendship and community and ‘fame and fortune’, this character is drawn to the depth of traditional ways whilst also presenting the world with some beautiful, traditional song! 

“…and what about OUR girl?” asked one friend, excitedly – Cairns audiences were spellbound and proud the night before our meeting, listening to CASSANDRA WRIGHT. Cassandra Wright and Jan O’Donnell in recital, featuring Dayna Johnston on clarinet and Charlotte Wright, Soprano. Two of my friends had taught Cassandra, thusly our excitement and pride was heightened!

London based soprano, Cassandra, is currently completing a Master of Arts majoring in Vocal Performance at the Royal Academy of Music. Since commencing her studies in September 2019, she has been accepted as a member of the Academy’s prestigious Song Circle and is preparing the role of Ilia (Idomeneo) for the upcoming Vocal Department Opera Scenes. She also performed in ‘The Magic Flute’. 

Cassandra holds a Graduate Certificate in Performance and a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Queensland Conservatorium. Preceding myriad awards in 2019, Cassandra was the winner of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria Competition in 2018 and the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition in 2016. This outstanding singer’s operatic roles are also many and she performs regularly with the internationally acclaimed group, The 7 Sopranos. Our Congratulations are extended to Cassandra WRIGHT and continued good wishes for 2020. SDGs 3/4/5/17

Travel Associates in Cairns and colleagues nation-wide are proud of this: “Thank you Travel Associates for partnering with us and walking the journey with precious girls who had no voice, but who now know healing, hope and purpose.” Bloomasia. www.bloomasia.org   Empowering women to find a new future. Healing, hope and purpose for girls who have suffered horrific human rights abuses. 

M. was shading a beautiful rose with edible crimson, her hand steady, her face a study of concentration as she brought the hand-crafted sugar flower to life brushstroke by brushstroke. I caught her shyly looking up at me and she reminded me of a little child ….’This is absolutely beautiful’ I told her. She broke into a big smile and I thought of the power our words can have. This little one endured so much horror in her short life and was told she was worthless. A kind smile, a soft face and constant words of encouragement have the power to spark something new – a kernel of self-belief that maybe she has values, abilities and talent. Maybe she can think of a future with hope and excitement?

Details of abuse are not shared to protect and dignify the girls who come through Bloom. Bloom Asia was founded by Ruth LARWILL who worked with Travel Associates for many years before moving to Cambodia. Travel Associates Summer 2019/20 p.38 – SDGs 1/2/3/4/8/10/16/17

Stories! Histories! Queenslanders and Australians are reaching back into relatively recent social history, pulling sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely, threads of Truth, Dreams…Meaning is not always retrieved, or re-composed via this process, ‘though at times it may be….

Joan DIDION’s essay ‘The White Album’ was presented as theatre, by Lars JAN and Early Morning Opera, as part of the Sydney Festival. Didion famously opens her essay, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live…” – and then proceeds to lose the story and give us threads, fragmented scenes that she doesn’t claim to understand. The threads, fragmented series of scenes and those belonging to the dreams that defined the 60s and crossed generations. Didion claims that the essence of the 60s dreams died with the August 9 shock Manson murders. Rich in social history and fragments we may never understand, a chorus conveys the crowds, student groups protesting for peace, alternative dreams of communal living that were all such important features of the 60s, and so savagely destroyed by the violent, individualistic ‘commune’ leader, Charles Manson.  Then, in later decades, the dreams disappeared altogether, defeated by a blatant capitalistic-materialistic system. Challenging and interesting threads continue to be woven….. theaustralian.com.au/arts p.9 Jan 10 2020.  SDGs 3/4/5/11/17

On a recent trip to Fremantle, Western Australia I read an interesting novel. ‘NEVER NEVER’James PATTERSON and Candice FOX.

“It’s easy to go missing in the middle of nowhere.”

Detective Harriet Blue needed to get out of town, fast…from Sydney New South Wales to the West Australian desert, where three young people have disappeared from the Bandya Mine. In this unforgiving land, she has no idea how close she is to a whole new kind of danger…

This fast-paced novel is fraught with twists and turns and it reveals truths and the underbelly of our mining industry! It is disappointing NOT to discover further information about co-writer, Candice Fox – however, only an Aussie with genuine knowledge could have revealed the truths and underbelly that solidify setting, tensions and a plot to surprise readers!!   www.penguin.co.uk        SDGs 3/4/8/11/12

WOMEN’S HISTORY – ‘Wearing Paper Dresses’ Anne BRINSDEN.  A tremendously polished, heartbreaking debut… a story of mothers and daughters, a saga of two generations of women on the land. Enthralling. Tragic. Romantic. Absolutely unputdownable. A Woman’s Point of View by Jennifer: offers the CWA Cookery Book. Valuable Information: The Land: offers ‘….Naturally, considering the compilers, the woman who lives in the country has been carefully catered for. No longer, if she decides to tan a sheepskin, will she have to go further than her own bookshelf to learn the method. She will also find how to: make a wool mattress, cure bacon, construct a bush ice chest and a fireless cooker, make soup and candles; and repair an iron tank. Pan Macmillan Australia: Chapter Sampler, 2019. Social history! A compelling story of country Australia with all its stigma, controversy and beauty. SDGs 1/3/4/5/8/10/15

OUR HISTORY IN VISUAL ART! – PHOTOGRAPHY, SCULPTURE….MORE STORIES in exhibitions shaped with great love….

Interdisciplinary Artist, Emily PUXTY, combines ceramic and photographic works to consider HOW the retelling of the implicit vulnerability and intimacy of early shared adult experiences can be communicated.

‘WITH LOVE’    POP Gallery

381 Brunswick Street FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006

‘THE TIME OF LIGHT’ – Brisbane based Artist, Courtney COOMBS, responds to the unique role of LIGHT in the Metro Arts galleries. As one of many former arts students who first exhibited at Metro Arts, this up and coming Queensland Artist offers her exhibition with tenderness and reflection, as a loving farewell to the space bneart.com SDGs 3/4/8/12/17

‘To whom shall I go to learn about the one I love?’

Kabir says: “When you are trying to find a hardwood forest

it seems wise to know what a tree is.’ 1440-1518: Hoka-Hey = Completeness Bennett S.

Reminder: NCWQ Christmas Luncheon December 2019

Members and friends are invited to celebrate with the National Council of Women of Queensland at our

Annual Christmas Luncheon

Thursday 5 December, 2019

12 noon for a 12.30pm commencement

The Women’s College, University of Queensland, Cnr College Road and Thynne Road, St Lucia

Tickets: $45.00 per person includes buffet festive lunch with dessert, juice and water, tea and coffee. Soft drinks and alcohol available for purchase.

RSVP with payment by 29 November, 2019

This year, NCWQ is supporting Mercy Community Romero Centre to provide basic pantry necessities for their clients. Suggested items are listed overleaf. To assist appropriate distribution, please do not wrap goods.

Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski, Manager, will share with us some of the work of the Romero Centre.

To download the RSVP form, click HERE.

Guest blog: Day of the Girl

Today is the #DayofTheGirl. Read a wonderful blog by Sarah Cowley – her thoughts on today and her experience being part of Soroptimist International.

*Originally written for SI Moreton North Inc. Special thanks to Sarah and Chris Knight of Soroptimist International South West Pacific for sharing this blog with us.

“The theme for this year’s Day of the Girl is ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable’. This important day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

For me, this theme resonates a lot with my personal beliefs and how I have tried to act and work throughout my adult life. I have always tried to ‘do my bit’, whether it be through education programmes, studying or working with young people to empower them. I have always done my best to use my voice to advocate for change, especially for women and girls. I think it is also important to recognise the women who’ve come before us an acted as trailblazers for the world we know now.

This Day of the Girl, I want all women and girls to know that they are unstoppable, and a force to be reckoned with. I want girls to know how powerful they are and what their potential is. I have also become a mum to a beautiful daughter this year, so I have been reflecting a lot on what I want to do to create a better future for all the girls of the next generation.

Freedom, equality and liberation all come to mind. I don’t want the equal pay debate to still be happening – it should be rectified. I want girls to have control over their bodies. I want equal representation at work. I want more men to support women in their quest for equality.

Wanting all of these things for myself and others is why I joined Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI). I wanted to be surrounded by supportive, powerful women who are leading change and are activists for women’s rights in their communities and the world. Women who are the voice. I wanted to be a part of something big, that will empower me to create change for women and girls too. I wanted to invest my energy into meaningful activities where I knew I would have a voice that was heard, so I could make a difference too.

And that’s what I’ve got.

From being a Soroptimist, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with women from all over the world, including in Australia, Nigeria and Cambodia. There are also opportunities as a Soroptimist – regional and international conventions, a global network and association with the United Nations. We can have a voice and be activists and leaders in our community and the world.

I am grateful for the friendships, support and opportunities that have come from being a Soroptimist, especially from the members of my SIMNI club. I am grateful for the activities I’ve been able to partake in because of this group. I am also grateful that, as a young woman pushing for change in this world, I have women supporting me.

I am grateful that I have a voice that is heard, and I will continue to keep working so other women and girls can be ‘Unscripted and Unstoppable’ too. Happy Day of the Girl to all!”

Bursary Fund-raising Morning Tea and Fashion Parade

NCWQ held its annual bursary fund-raising morning tea and fashion parade Thursday, 10 October. Leah Lever, previous recipient of the Elements Living bursary in 2018, charmed us with her beautiful singing. Ella Madigan, a recipient of last year’s Ipswich City Council bursary for a secondary student, spoke about her activity with NCWQ and the Young Women’s sub-committee.

Currently studying nursing, she intends to then study to medicine. With the theme of acknowledging women in medicine, the contributions of various women were highlighted by affiliated organisation Queensland Medical Women’s Society. Fashions were provided by Soubrét Pink, from Mt Gravatt, displaying the current trends ranging from casual to more formal occasions. NCWQ appreciates the support of all those involved, with the proceeds funding the NCWQ-sponsored 2020 bursaries.

Announcing the 20 Queensland Voices Female Leaders

This was first published here. Two young NCWQ members have been announced as part of the 20 winners! They are Taylor and Madison Birtchnell.

WITH SUPPORT FROM THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT’S OFFICE FOR WOMEN, FEMECONOMY IS SHOWCASING QUEENSLAND WOMEN WHO ARE STRIVING TO CREATE GENDER EQUALITY.

Queensland is built by amazing Queenslanders. Every day women in Queensland are taking action to make Queensland safer for women, to help women’s health and wellbeing, to build women’s economic security and to increase women’s participation in the workforce and female leadership.

ANNOUNCING THE 20 QUEENSLAND VOICES FEMALE LEADERS

These women are the unsung female heroes in our community. The carers. The game changers. Those challenging stereotypes. Women who have kept communities going through hardship. Those who work tirelessly without recognition or reward because it is just what they do. We want to thank them and celebrate their tenacity, endurance, thought leadership and consistency.

Taylor Birtchnell– is an exceptional 21-year-old who volunteers across many community organisations, including The Sanctuary Women and Children’s Refuge, and Women’s Legal Service, as an advocate for women and girls.

Madison Birtchnell – is the youngest member of YWCA’s Sub-Committee advising Board members to develop National programs and support initiatives for girls and women, to enhance their health and wellbeing.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report November 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

A Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the person who never reads lives only one. George R.R. Martin

Leslie HURTIG, Artistic Director for the 2019 Vancouver Writers’ Festival notes change and pleasure whilst perusing books being published by small and large presses across Canada, the United States and Europe. “There has been,” Leslie writes, “a noticeable trend toward highlighting the voices of under-represented minorities, making the offering of titles being published in English both varied and essential.” Opening boxes from a publisher is always a joy and takes one on unexpected journeys. Excited about the Vancouver Writers Fest, Leslie acknowledges many talented writers, to small and large audiences, and extends a particularly warm welcome to award-winning author, journalist and activist, Tanya TALAGA. Tanya is the second annual Guest Curator, who has led many forward through her columns at ‘The Toronto Star’ and two of her best-sellers: “Seven Fallen Feathers” and“All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward”.

A wonderful programme with authors: Naomi Klein, Alicia Elliott, Maude Barlow and Adam Gopnik inspiring and informing, intersperses with fiction authors:  Emma Donoghue, Tash Aw, Mona Awad, Elif Batuman, Cherie Dimaline and Michael Crummey, entertaining, provoking thought and new ideas! Executive Director, Nicole Nozick and Board Chair, Alexia Jones, express both joy and excitement for a year which has been pivotal, with a new mission, vision and strategic plan. I am deeply grateful to my contemporary at Granville Island for sharing this information and it is important to note that the fest carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleril-Waututh First Nations. Publications proliferate and are available on: www.writersfest.bc.ca. A complete overview is titled: ‘Exceptional Books & Ideas in 80+Events”. SDGs 4/12/17

MONTREAL, QUEBEC provided gifts of interesting books and a timeline and ‘trip through history’ of Montreal’s main communities. The information includes street/geographic detail and the nature of the business or service in which each culture is engaged. One reads of the Greek, Jewish, Irish, Scottish, English, First Nations, Haitians, Italians, Latinos, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Maghreb citizens, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and the French, who by 1865, made up most of the city’s population! A delicious and exciting city of 4 million inhabitants, and no less than 120 different nationalities, Montreal boasts a rich and vibrant cultural fabric! SDGs 4/11/17

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec all celebrated Space, the Landing on the Moon and challenged our future ‘out there’ with a variety of historic and futuristic dioramas and interactive displays. Just prior to my flight to Canada, I had read, waiting for my dentist, an interesting article ‘Heroes of Space’ featuring Vera RUBIN – the first person to prove the existence of dark matter. Vera was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, USA and was always fascinated by physics and astronomy. Although she was able to study, the ‘Princeton’ policy that it did not accept women, was not lifted until 1975, so, despite her obvious talent, Vera Rubin battled the odds, and was accepted at Cornell University, to do her Master’s degree. With consequences for our understanding of today’s cosmos, Vera’s discovery of the elusive material, dark matter, believed to make up an estimated 25% of the ‘missing’ mass of the universe, was not well received in a man’s world – however, she ‘slanted’ her research towards the study of the rotation curves of singular galaxies, beginning with our closest spiral, the Andromeda galaxy. WHY am I including this in my report? Because I did not, even once, in any display or diorama, see any representation of Vera Rubin’s name, work, profile, discovery or research and/or its relationship to our knowledge of what is known of ‘Space’ today. www.image.publishing.co.uk   SDGs 4/5/10/12

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” Stephen HAWKING 1942-2018

 

An Australian group replicated a number of LEONARDO DA VINCI’S inventions, implements, musical instruments and paintings, and these were on display in Vancouver, British Columbia, to the delight of significant audiences. In addition to the interactive inventions and ‘gadgets’, which I had formerly seen only in Florence, there was a wonderfully collated history of da Vinci, filmed for all to see. Adjacent to this wonderment, was a history of the changes wrought to what is believed to be the original Mona Lisa. This segment of the exhibition was of particular interest to audiences of all ages and provoked stimulating conversation and debate! I hope you are all able to see the photos taken at this particular exhibition. They will be on our website, as part of this report.

The artworks on display are digitised reproductions, recreating Florentine oil paintings to actual size. Leonardo’s original works are, of course, considered too priceless to move from their permanent locations; some are now too fragile to even be on display. “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” said the Grand Master, da Vinci. Canada Science and Technology Museum. SDGs 4/12/17

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo da Vinci est. 1450

 

Of particular interest, also in Vancouver, was the way in which exhibitions are EXPLICIT. Themes, ideas, questions and issues are very, very clear – not only from Canadian artists, certainly, but from the entire display. One example of this explicitness, in addition to buildings, people, evictions, riots, construction and meetings ON THE STREETS, was a work by Robert Capa, Budapest, Hungary. 1913-1954. Capa was a pseudonym for photojournalist Endre Friedmann,who fled Hungary and lived in France for a time. The 1944 photo of a street in Chartres, France, shows a mother and daughter whose heads have been shaved to mark them as collaborators. The daughter – in the white dress – is holding a baby she conceived with a German soldier. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. SDGs 4/11

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other (women’s) and men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” Socrates

RULES OF THE ROAD

Dublin’s Ciara GERAGHTY “For my mother, Breda who gave me the roots to grow and wings to fly.”

“Iris Armstrong is missing.” Thusly begins this Irish author, whose books are beautifully written and infused with warmth, humour and human understanding, states the ‘Irish Examiner’.

The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. When Iris Armstrong goes missing on her 58thbirthday, her best friend, Terry, wife, mother and all-round worrier, is convinced something had has happened.  She’s right. Her glamourous, feisty friend is setting out on a journey she plans to make her last. Woven into this, is a dad who has dementia. “…one of the good things about dementia. You bear witness to the kindness of people.” p.330

“Memory is such a strange beast, isn’t it. It throws up such random things. Presents itself in different ways. Sepia-tinted, some of them. Black-and-white, others glaring technicolour. Some are magnified. Larger than life, like the images you see when you look through the wrong end of binoculars. Distant and small. You doubt the truth of them.” pp 353-354

Beautifully written – Two old friends on a life-changing journey…. Rules of the Road, Harper Collins Publishers, London. 2019 www.harpercollins.co.uk  SDGs 3/4/16

Australia’s Matt ZURBO, father and fisherman, currently working an oyster farm in Tasmania, determined to write 1 x Children’s book daily for a year! Matt declared on SBS Television that “Imagination trumps violence and ignorance and always will!” This unusual author explains that he is the son of a father who is an illustrator and a mother, doyenne of Melbourne’s avant-garde theatre, ‘The Pram Factory’. Both inspired his own creativity, as does his golden-haired daughter, Cielo (heaven in Spanish) – Cielo’s mother fled Caracas. Details on publications and progress are available online and Wikipedia has a Children’s Portal! www.mattzurbo.com  Pascoe Publishing & Penguin Books 2019

RESIDENTS AND VISITORS to Queensland were delighted with the beautiful water fountains, lights and lasers viewed from the Arcadia precinct on the South Bank Cultural Forecourt! Teachers from the city and regions marked the very LAST QCS (Queensland Core Skills) tests for Queensland senior students, then relaxed with this spectacular exhibition! Educators and Schools will now change pace, teaching the students to cope successfully with external exams.

A South African Choir was placed 2ndin ‘America’s Got Talent’ – ND LOJU – Zulu for Elephant! This is from our sisters in the Council in South Africa! Daphne Hansen

Light and lovely! ‘freshly picked words’ …’Save the Earth, it’s the only planet with ice-cream’.

The following is not so light and lovely, and may be confronting for some – however, it is vital to the integrity and direction of our role/s that the truths and stories of all are given a voice and a place…..

‘PURGE’ Sofi OKSANEN (first published in the Finnish language as “Puhdistus” 2008 by WSOY) Atlantic Books, London, 2018. www.atlantic-books.co.uk  Translator: Lola ROGERS

“There is an answer for everything, if only one knew the questions.” Paul-Eerik Rummo (Part One) May 1949 – Free Estonia!

Deep in an overgrown Estonian forest, two women, one young, one old, are hiding. Zara, a murderer and a victim of sex-trafficking, is on the run from brutal captors. Aliide, a communist sympathizer and a blood traitor, has endured a life of abuse and the country’s brutal Soviet years. Their survival now depends on exposing the one thing that kept them hidden – the truth.

(Part Two) “Seven million years we heard the fuhrer’s speeches; the same seven million years we saw the apple trees bloom.” Paul-Eerik Rummo

“She recognized the smell of the women on the street, the smell that said something similar had happened to them. From every trembling hand, she could tell – there’s another one. From every flinch at the sound of a Russian soldier’s shout and every lurch at the tramp of boots. Her, too? Every one who couldn’t keep herself from crossing the street when militiamen or soldiers approached. Every one with a waist band on her dress that showed she was wearing several pairs of underwear…” p168

“There was nothing in the news about Chernobyl…” p218

“They’re keeping the cows indoors in Finland…” p220

“All the cement disappeared from Estonia, because it was needed in Ukraine, and more food came into Estonia from Ukraine and Belarus than ever before…Pure Estonian food was needed in Moscow, and Estonia got the food that Moscow didn’t happen to want…”p220 SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/16

Sofi OKSANEN was born in Finland and is a graduate of the Finnish Theatre Academy. She is the author of numerous novels, including ‘Purge’, ‘When the Doves Disappeared’ and ‘Norma’. Lola ROGERS is a Finnish to English literary Translator living in Seattle.

‘A phenomenon’ Sunday Times

 

‘STORIES & SKETCHES’ by Charles DICKENS with original engravings was gifted to a friend in 1908 and loaned to me by her relative, recently, in 2019! Beautifully intact, though somewhat fragile, the small volume is alive with famous and lesser known characters and stories, and demonstrates the sharp powers of observation Dickens possessed, positing truths, harsh realities and grand follies of humanity! Much would receive serious and silly editing these days, where truths continue to diminish or are garbed in nonsense layers of pretence! Just a few titles are: ‘Sketches of a Young Gentleman’, ‘Sketches of Young Couples’, ‘Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble, Once Mayor of Mudfog’ and ‘The Pantomime of Life’. Collins’ Clear-Type Press, London and Glasgow SDG 4

 

Australian magazine MINDFOOD presents some interesting holiday reading in the October 2019 edition. Calling all Writers. Have your short story published mindfoodshortstory@mindfood.com. There is also a call for unpublished poets! Of special interest and benefit, however, is an article by Cat RODIE, HAPPY OR HURTING? This article interrelates today’s clichés, turmoil, emotional and mental health and glib dismissiveness of authentic conditions!

The author quotes everyday sayings, such as: ‘everything happens for a reason’ and‘things always work out for the best’, as not particularly useful, or worse. Registered psychologist, Jocelyn BREWER is quoted: “We’ve confused being happy with the ability to apply a positive mindset”, she writes. Cat Rodie was going through a really rough patch and wondered whyall the platitudes, not only in conversation, but abundant on Facebook, Instagram etc. crushed her; seeming to make things worse, as it was all HER fault! “Just be positive!” Good vibes only! ‘Think happy thoughts!’ Brewer explains the worsening feelings, explaining that we HAVE confused the basis of happiness – ‘Many examples of toxic positivity are actually just shallow or simplistic sayings that gloss over the more nuanced issues of dealing with life’s ups and downs,’ she explains. So strongly embedded is this toxic positivity, in social media, and so unusual is listening and understanding in face-to-face conversations, this can all STOP people from sharing their authentic feelings and seeking help, it is stated. pp042/043

Let yourself feel bad! States Rodie, supported by psychologists and researchers across the board. In direct opposition to ‘just being positive’, research suggests that allowing yourself to experience a spectrum of unpleasant emotions will actually help you feel better in the long run.  Researchers found that people who didn’t seem to ‘feel bad’ about feeling bad showed higher levels of wellbeing than their counterparts who beat themselves up about feeling negative emotions! The study concluded that “…those who accept their mental experiences may attain better psychological health.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2017. www.mindfood.com/positive-changeSDGs 3/4

 

 

SUSTAINING A FOCUS ON “experiencing a spectrum of emotions” a magnificent text has been produced, with this dedication: ‘For Margot Frank who died, aged eighteen, in Bergen-Belsen along with her sister, Anne.  And for Margot Reith who, at a similar age, has the world at her feet.’ ‘THE LOVE THAT I HAVE’ has been penned in a specially built shed in the backyard of a most respected, award winning author, James MOLONEY, right here, in Brisbane! This extraordinary story about love, loss and profound courage is superb!

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved three things: the long summer holidays, my brother Walther and Adolf Hitler.”

Margot Baumann has left school to take up her sister’s job in the mailroom of a large prison. But this is Germany in 1944, and the prison is Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.

Margot is shielded from the camp’s brutality a she has no contact with prisoners. However, she does handle their mail, and when given a cigarette lighter and told to burn the prisoner’s letters, she is horrified by the callous act she must carry out with her own hands. Margot steals a few letters, intending to send them in secret, only to find herself drawn to their heart-rending words of hope, of despair and of love.

This is how Margot comes to know Dieter Kleinschmidt – through the beauty and passion of his letters to a girlfriend. A wonderful read! ‘The Love That I Have’ Angus & Robertson, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Australia. 2018 www.harpercollins.comSDGs 1/2/3/4/6/10/16

QUEENSLAND’s Arts and Letters in late 2019 is a swirl of wonderful Russian Ballet – old art – new art – chamber music – Shakespeare modernized! French film – Japanese animation – Finnish fiction – beautiful yarns of rich, early days in the Torres Straits Islands – a return to the stage for Kris Kristofferson – reminding us “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”All events, productions, publications, renditions, tales, performances and songs lighten hearts and heavy thoughts! – Many generate new ideas for new and old problems! – Some provoke us – some make us laugh heartily – some bring forth tears, memories, dreams, reflections – all enrich! Many, also, blend yesterday and today…hurtling us into our tomorrows!

One such BLEND, performed on stage and accompanied and enhanced with unusual visual artworks, is ‘ALICE IN THE ANTIPATHIES’. This performance is about the Malayalee diaspora and issues that have been part of the global transmigration landscape since last century. It is a collaboration between JUTE Theatre Company, Masakini Theatre Company of Malaysia and Dr Sasi VICTOIRE. Created and written by Cairns-based Dr Sasi Victoire, originally from Malaysia, the writer uses the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story to help explore the struggles encountered by migrants, especially the Asian Diaspora, to reconcile with their cultural heritage and identity. The work includes multi-media components such as projected images, sound and dance. Set designs were from the Australian production team and stage management from Malaysia. This IS a magickal transformative story of migration, told through the senses, embedded with the playwright’s own artworks depicting a life lived with a constant sense of ‘otherness’ and a relentless search for place.

An excerpt from ‘Writer’s Notes’: “It is a rare privilege for an artist to be given an opportunity to not only write a play, but to support the vision in the narrative by creating images for costumes, props and audio visuals. As a co-producer, I have gained some knowledge of the many processes that make up the world of theatre.

I could not have imagined when I embarked on my creative journey that this spark of an idea would tip me totally in a rabbit hole for almost four years. Using the safety net of JUTE Theatre Company’s writing programme, Write Sparks, my narrative is presented now, integrated with my art, presenting a fusion of art-forms in multiple cultural interfaces, as a more complete form…”  Dr Sasi Victoire 2019.

On a curious adventure, sent to be educated in Australia, beset by curiosity, new-found freedoms, new logic and exciting new ideas, Asha, a second-generation Malaysia-born Indian woman explores, with her imaginary Alice, of Alice in Wonderland, to navigate a tricky voyage through romance, love, loss and reconciliation. As a completely engaged audience member, I promise you laughter, repeatedly; challenges, joy, sadness and tears. This was a completely wonderful performance, with a small yet dynamic and singularly ‘different’ cast of four! – Salut! To Roz PAPPALARDO as Alice; Phraveen ARIKIAH as Ganesh/Father; Sukania VENUGOPAL as Asha and Sabera SHAIK as the Red Queen/Mother; and wonderful personal friend of Sasi’s and Director, CHANDRABHANU. Australian Council for the Arts/Arts Queensland/Dr Sasi Victoire:www.sasivictoire.com.auSDGs 3/4/5/8/10/17                           Completely enjoyable, informative and EXTRAORDINARY!

Advisor’s notes: It is not usual for an Advisor to add notes to a report. However, because our readership continues to grow; because numbers of readers have English as an additional language and because I now include SDGs in most of my reports, I am including some explanatory footnotes here.

  • The ARTS includes many arenas and modalities, some of which are paintings, photography, posters, printed matter, pottery, porcelain, picture cards, performances, public puppetry. LETTERS simply means LITERATURE. Thusly, all literature, books, novels, novellas, poetry, prose, articles, are included. Arts and Letters inevitably include CULTURE! It is impossible for this inclusion not to occur. Cultural inclusions, backgrounds, characters, themes, symbols, religions, foods, celebrations, customs, traditions, songs, music and issues are the heartbeat and core of Literature. Exploring these, is part of the writer’s ‘job’!
  • SDGs are broad Sustainable Development Goals derived by the United Nations, forming part of the framework in which National Councils and the International Council of Women (Le Conseil International des Femmes) work, for broadly, educative and humanitarian goals.
  • A brief idea of what each SDG relates to, mentions or addresses, in this report, is set out below:

Poverty =1

Hunger =2

Good Health and Wellbeing =3

Education =4

Gender Equality =5

Clean Water and Sanitation =6

Decent Work and Economic Growth = 8

Reduced Inequalities = 10

Sustainable Cities and Communities = 11

Responsible Competition and Production = 12

Peace Justice and Strong Institutions = 16

Partnerships for Goals = 17

  • Pictures and photos for this report will appear on our website, positioned by our wonderful Webmistress. These do not appear in the report I habitually email. NCWQ

Voila! Concerts! Celebrations! Performances! Bells! Books! Christmas ‘round the corner for most!

…and when the dust has settled, the SILENCE is so rich – Hear ye! Silence is not simply a ‘ghost’!  Jennifer Ann Davies 2019 c.

SILENCE is not merely the absence of sound. …it is a language all of its own. “Becoming fluent in silence, like learning a foreign tongue, reveals undiscovered richness in the ordinary, everyday things. A silence shared by Friends could include lazily flicking through magazines together, watching a great movie, warming up by a blazing campfire and spying an animal waddling past. It’s the silence that welds a bond in the space between words. It’s that fine wine reserved for special friends, and so all the more savoured.” Rob Seizer, Speaking in Silence, 047.       www.mindfood.com/silence-for-health

NCWQ Annual Christmas Luncheon 2019

Members and friends are invited to celebrate with the National Council of Women of Queensland at our

Annual Christmas Luncheon

Thursday 5 December, 2019

12 noon for a 12.30pm commencement

The Women’s College, University of Queensland, Cnr College Road and Thynne Road, St Lucia

Tickets: $45.00 per person includes buffet festive lunch with dessert, juice and water, tea and coffee. Soft drinks and alcohol available for purchase.

RSVP with payment by 29 November, 2019

This year, NCWQ is supporting Mercy Community Romero Centre to provide basic pantry necessities for their clients. Suggested items are listed overleaf. To assist appropriate distribution, please do not wrap goods.

Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski, Manager, will share with us some of the work of the Romero Centre.

To download the RSVP form, click HERE

Arts and Letters Report October 2019

Friendship, Laughter, Hope, Humour, Memory, and Listening all help us to create a LANGUAGE RICH ENVIRONMENT in which CHILDREN are less vulnerable – in which we have immunised them against poor language and literacy. Friendship! Laughter! Hope! Humour! Memory! Listening! These essential ingredients furnish effective, wonderful COMMUNICATION

“Books are a joyful thing,” communicates Cressida Cowl, Children’s Laureate – advising that CREATIVE INDUSTRIES need CREATIVE CHILDREN – these are huge, million dollar industries as well. Cressida is of “How to Train Your Dragon” fame!

WHAT, though, is COMMUNICATION? ‘Communication’ is not interchangeable with words like ‘message’, ‘contact’ or ‘transferring information’ (media). Often people mistakenly say “There is a communication problem” possibly meaning: “We have a shortage of information, but no way of interpreting” – “We aren’t being told what we really need to know” or “We have received different messages which contradict each other.” pp36-37.

Communication demands LISTENING. Listening is an art! Working with this ‘art’ we cannot afford to be too rigid about techniques, because our performance grows out of our personal relationships…To improve, we need courage, patience, generosity and a willingness to experiment. ‘WHY DON’T PEOPLE LISTEN?” Australia’s Hugh Mackay wrote this gem of a book in 1995 – well worth reading or revisiting! Pan MacMillan Publishers Sydney NSW.

“In the dark, your voice will save me!” S.K.Vaughan: “ACROSS THE VOID

Sphere UK 2019/www.littlebrown.co.uk

‘Love recognises no barrier. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination – full of hope.’ Maya ANGELOU

‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m very interested in her.’ Arthur C. Clarke

“Dinoflagellates,” Stephen said. “Single-celled organisms. They create that light, kind of like fireflies. Bioluminescence.” “Don’t ruin it with your science. They’re ocean stars.” p.252

“Everything in existence is a combination or unity of opposites.” P.243

A survival thriller; impenetrably thick irony – betrayed by superiors in the worst possible way, then falsely exalted by the same. p.286

“There’s no mass grave in the universe that can’t be ploughed into patriotic propaganda by a well-crafted spin.” p.286.  Highly recommended!

Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.

‘THE WITCH’S KIND’ Louisa MORGAN Orbit UK 2018

A beautiful literary dedication to Painter Elizabeth Lucinda Morgan Campbell, by her grand-daughter, Louisa Morgan, a pseudonym for award-winning Author, Louise MARLEY…”In memory of my grandmother…who understood that art is life.”

“Tatters of cloud shone silver against the violet sky. I felt the pull of the canal as a physical sensation. Its tides seemed to resonate with the tides of my own flowing blood, its life calling to the life in my veins.” Yet again, WAR flavours and shapes myriad elements of this text; glass fragments of the shoreline beg imaginings of their origins, place and purpose – their wonderful ‘everyday-ness’! “I liked holding the glass fragments in my hand, bits of brown or blue or clear glass worn smooth by the water. I tried to imagine what they had once been part of…” p.2 “Deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters.” Jordanna Max BRODSKY.  www.orbitbooks.net

ABC CLASSICAL MUSIC (FM2) presented listeners’ 100 FAVOURITE COMPOSERS! Notably the following generated for lovers of music! One comment aired during this delightful time and relaying of the histories of some of the composers: “I think of music as something humans make.”                   Stories of awe and angst

Beauty and bereavement

Enthusiasm and energy

Magick and mystery

Actual voices, rarely heard

Successful symphonies

Subtle sounds

Startling synchronicities

Simple ‘scores’

Stealthy shifts

Staccato signals

Singular sounds

Symphonic

Spectacular

Soft

Special!          Salut! ABC Radio/copyright JAD 2019

A 50/50 WORLD? Australia’s Graeme SIMSION helps us believe in possibility, makes us proud to be human beings, and…keeps us laughing. Matthew Quick

“THE ROSIE RESULT” is the third in a trilogy, by Simsion and dedicated to “…the many people in the autism community who have been inspired and supported …(his)…books.” The Text Publishing Company/Melbourne Australia 2019. www.textpublishing.com.au

‘We are all special cases.’ Albert Camus

‘Laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and so ingenious and compelling you feel as if you want to jump into the world of the novel and join in.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

Book Club notes and more available! www.therosieproject.com.au

***

A tree shakes. Its branches flutter. There’s another snapping sound. Gigi’s barking inside the house. I pull the gate open. At the same moment I see someone – dark clothes, hunched posture, hooded sweatshirt – about ten yards away.  My pulse racing, I scoot inside the gate…hide behind a tree…my heart pounding, my head spinning, unsure if he’s seen me….”

The TRUTH will be exposed. In photography, answers to logical questions, connecting and deleting lies, with great compassion…

“SHUTTER” Laurie Faria STOLARZ Hyperion, N.Y. www.hyperionteens.com

(Connecting the voices and stories in the world of Letters to Visual Art, Photography continues to develop, to take a new ‘place’, in exhibitions, celebrations in Queensland’s and Australia’s Galleries.)

UQ ART MUSEUM: The World Press PHOTO Exhibition 2019 has been on a world-wide tour and made available at the Queensland College of Art. Included at the college are the works of QUT’s Olivia Lacey who explores intersubjective dialogue in art and Caroline Austin continues experimentation exploring how transdisciplinary creative strategies might be used to address wide-ranging issues through projects, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and participatory artworks. www.bneart.com

VIVALDI! MOZART! PAGANINI! SAINT-SAENS! CHAMBER PHILHARMONIA COLOGNE, GERMANY Beautiful music echoed through St. Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns, with ‘La Tempesta Di Mare’, Concerto for violin, strings and basso cotinuo: Concerto in E Minor for bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV 484. Mozart, Concerto in B Flat Major for Bassoon and Orchestra KV 191. Paganini? Moses-Variations for Violoncello and Orchestra and Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra op. 28. The Chamber Philharmonia Cologne presented Sergey Didorenko on violin; Karen Ruprecht Bassoon and Dmitri Gornowsky, Violoncello. A beautiful concert.

Welcome Joanna NELL! Australia’s author of a moving, funny, heart-warming tale of love and community… ‘THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE’ Hachette Australia, Sydney NSW 2018. www.hachette.com.au

You will love PEGGY SMART. Aged 79 ½, living in the Jacaranda Retirement Village and widowed, Peggy’s closest ally is Angie Valentine. Four husbands. One pacemaker. Glamorous life of the party. Angie is teaching Peggy how to age disgracefully! Peggy is a long-time admirer of Brian Cornell. Handsome widower. Treasurer of the Residents’ Committee. Avid swimmer. All his own teeth! Peggy’s children? David and (overprotective) Jenny + Basil, her senior citizen partially sighted Shih Tzu. Likes: Losing herself in a romance novel. Guilt-free cake after aqua aerobics. Dislikes: Being patronised. Prescriptions. Favourite saying: “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one!” Lots of FUN!! 

From the NCWQ archives, another voice – one which paved the way to NOW in the Art world!

“My name is Debbie SCOTT and I draw under the aboriginal name of “Yuluwirree” which means “rainbow”. I am not a tribal aborigine, a fringe dweller, or a person from a mission. I am an urban aborigine. I was raised in a European society. You might say I have the best of two worlds. My art is contemporary aboriginal art and my art form is pen and ink on fabric linen paper. The pen is a rotring pen which has very fine nibs…(this) gives me fine, intricate line work. The paper is imported from Italy. I use this paper because of its resilience to time and wear. The only colours I use on my work is a water colour wash I sometimes put in the background. I like to substitute my linework for colour.”

After travelling to a range of places, Debbie wrote: “I have met very interesting people who now have a better understanding of contemporary aboriginal art and hopefully an understanding of the people who are caught in this “time warp” of being neither truly black nor white. I have made wonderful friends and will have made many more in time to come, all through my art. So you can understand why I like to do my work from the heart because I get rewards from the heart in return.” NCWQ/NCWA 1990.

THE STUNNING TRIPTYCH “A Guidance in Time” created by Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow for the University of Queensland’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been unveiled in southern Queensland. I am sure Debbie Scott’s voice would be one to celebrate this tribute in the world of art.

…and a STUNNING SURPRISE IN AN ART MUSEUM IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA! I had looked at the huge art work and puzzled over the animals, as I was way across the world, seeking racoons, moose, bear and ground hogs! A wonderful mural, featuring a large work in the middle, shouldered by slender works on both sides. Then I read the inscription: “Diane MELLOR: Mamu, Ngajan and Ngagen MACKAY, AUSTRALIA 1971. MABA-I-BALA RUGU (of the Power of Darkness) 2013: framed triptych with unframed diptych; pastel, colour pencil with wash, glitter and crystal stickers…” AUSTRALIA IS HOME TO ONE OF THE OLDEST CIVILISATIONS, yet when colonists arrived there they considered the land empty. Mellor’s drawings juxtapose two different views – the real presence of Indigenous people within the blue-and-white imperialist landscape. The work also references prominent stars and celestial bodies. Mellor observes that, in Australia, “There is a renewed appreciation from astronomers of Indigenous perspectives relating to star clusters and the stories that they generate.” SDG 4 (Mackay is my Birthplace and is in Queensland on the East Coast of Australia.)

SOME NEW FUNDING HAS BEEN INFUSED INTO TOURISM AND THE ARTS IN QUEENSLAND! Each of the music events below has received refreshed funding.

COOLEY ROCKS ON is said to be Australia’s largest nostalgia music festival and this year the festival celebrated record growth for the event on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

QPAC states that thousands have bought tickets to EPIC BRISBANE OPERA a year in advance. A world-first operatic masterpiece is exceeding expectations. Richard WAGNER’S “Der Ring des Nibelungen” or “The Ring” has already sold thousands of tickets for the Brisbane performance.

“This production is coming exclusively to Queensland Performing Arts Centre and is a pinnacle of opera that will be a 15 hour epic performed over 4 nights,” says Ms. Leanne Enoch, Minister for the Arts. QPAC.

“Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going…And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.”

Pico IYER, Vancouver Art Gallery.  

In my next report I will bring you more on the explicitness visible and tangible in a range of Canada’s art exhibitions and some news of a Writers’ Fest which carries out its work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. 

 AND – LAST BUT NOT LEAST…4-5 & 9-12 October

COMMUNITY THEATRE: Tropical Arts, Inclusive Theatre Specialists

Bring to our Northern Region in Queensland,Australia

SHAKESPEARE AT THE TANKS!

Lighten up with the great Bard’s comedy: TWO GENTLEMEN IN VERONA –modernized to 2GEN#CNS brings us Shakespeare at the Tanks Art Centre 2019. Evening and Matinee performances are offered to a growing public, commencing Friday 4th October. TANK 3 – fully seated. Show rating: PG ticketlink.com.au and www.tropicalarts.org .

This community theatre performance has an interesting history and ethos; and is about: Real Humans, Real Theatre and Real Inclusion! Et voila! – WHAT does that mean?

The following material was given to me prior to my departure for Canada and applied initially to the 2018 production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, yet gives each of us a clearer perception of WHAT ‘Real Inclusion’ means, in this dynamic, creative context!

EVALUATION PROJECT – REAL INCLUSION

‘Real Inclusion’ is a project which wraps around the productions. This evaluation captures what we do to foster and support inclusion and collaboration throughout our process of making a play. We investigate the challenges which arise and how we, individually or as a member of the team or community, work through or resolve them. This project is led by Velvet ELDRED , a respected arts leader and very experienced theatre maker and Community Cultural Development worker. Velvet brought in the first ARC participants and developed this important partnership. Velvet works with other project leaders: Avril DUCK, Artistic Director; Melissa ROBERTSON, Communication and Doug ROBINS, Inclusion Specialist.   “Real Inclusion” findings will be an ongoing legacy for Tropical Arts with the aim of helping other organisations to understand that INCLUSION is a very active word! ARC=ARC Disability Services Inc.    www.tropicalarts.org