Arts and Letters Report, August 2017

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letter Adviser


Sharma mourned the fact that we have lost touch with our humanity; largely because human beings have never been less connected. Aldous Huxley begged us to be kinder to one another; and Mother Theresa said there should be less talk; but that we should take a broom and clean someone’s house!

Some suggest that the Arts ARE the ‘power points’ for connecting!

The Royal Ballet returned to Australia for the first time in 15 years, with two original works never before seen outside London. Woolfe Works inspired by three of Virginia Woolfe’s novels and presented in three multi-sensory acts, was followed by a brilliant adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale – wonderful gifts for Queensland audiences.

Fantastica! Fantastico! Figaro! A king’s picnic, a group of friends from Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Australia, fleet footed to settle in at the Munro Martin Parklands, where Opera Australia entertained us with the frivolity, finery, foppery, frolicking, fencing, friendships and fiasco of the delightful opera, The Marriage of Figaro!  Fine focus forms with age-old music, song, costume, traditions and a rare unity is sensed, subtle and ethereal, but sensed, as voices, music, hearts, souls, friends and strangers secretly sigh in relief, as all ends well – as love and joy triumph – as ‘connection’ is felt.

A kid in Wales, Dylan Thomas ‘connected’ every possible detail around him, to create his own mosaic of Life!  “…The best room smelt of moth balls, fur, damp, dead plants and stale, sour air…glass cases on wooden coffin boxes lined the window wall…vegetable garden visible through a stuffed fox’s legs, over a partridge’s head, along the red-paint-stained breast of a stiff wild duck.

A case of china, pewter, trinkets, teeth, family brooches, stood beyond the bandy table. There was a large oil lamp on the patchwork tablecloth, a Bible with a clasp, a tall vase, smiling family members in front of a fern pot! Clocks, candlesticks, chairs; dust, dirt, black horse hairs….”

From this ‘holiday house’ Thomas could not wait to escape outside to the sky, the grass, a grass-green cart and run the cobblestone passage near The Hare’s Foot (pub), because, he writes: “…I was young and loud and alive…” p.12

Dylan Thomas ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog’ JM Dent & Sons, London, Everyman’s Library, SW4 7TA

Brisbane author, Christine WELLS, draws on her lifelong love of and connection with British history, and an abiding fascination for the ways laws shape and reflect society.  This Australian woman moved from corporate law to ‘a different kind of fiction’, and is devoted to big dogs, good coffee, beach holidays, the Antiques Roadshow and above all, her two sons, who live with her in Brisbane.

The story moves from Melbourne to the Cotswolds – to 1939 London – to 1937 Spain and includes MI5 and MI6 connections. An interesting read.   ‘The Traitor’s Girl ‘ Michael Joseph imprint of Penguin Random House, Australia. 2017

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is being enhanced with a partnership between Cairns Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Victoria, presenting an outstanding exhibition of contemporary Torres Straits Island lei. Cairns born Daniel BOYD presents ‘Bitter Sweet’ as part of this partnership, and brings together public and private collections, in which selected works reflect the hidden history of slavery in Far North Queensland and the tens of thousands of South Sea Islanders who were taken to work on sugarcane plantations through the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s. A significantly rich social history is provided by the Artist, dispelling many myths, and he admits to a fascination with portraiture as a vehicle for connecting science, art, history, people, perceptions and realities.



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