Arts & Letters Report November 2016

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts & Letters Adviser

Miranda HINE won the inaugural Society of Fine Arts Association Museum Emerging Arts Writers’ Award, with her essay, “Self-Portrait- as Steve Hart: ADDING NEW VOICES TO OLD LEGENDS!

We congratulate Miranda and the UQ Art Museum, and beg to borrow those few wonderful, welcome words – indeed, the notion itself!! Many thanks!!

(Essay available on:

The reason for borrowing Miranda’s brief, wise words, is that many of us have spent 2016 searching for the new, the beautiful, the insightful and have lamented the egocentric works which have failed to avoid the boring, the Cro-Magnon echo, myopic and limiting; repeating stifling social consciousness, massaging an un-brave, unkind, self-absorbed herd; uttering the personal pronoun, I, repeatedly, without ever becoming ‘the witness’!!!

Then – Miranda Hine – Thank you! Thank you for this refreshing and interesting reasoning and point of view – and for your pure Honesty, for, in our collective worlds of Arts and Letters, we can see the ways in which many ‘legends’ have not merely been retrieved, but have had new LIFE breathed into them! We can see new ways in which our writers, poets, performers and visual artists DO, indeed, “…ADD new voices to old legends!”

Continuing our Tour of Discovery…..

The grand Renoir, himself, said, of his own work….

“I am like the children at school. The blank page must always be well written – and bang! …..a BLOT! I am still making blots…”!

Pierre August RENOIR – “Discovering the Great Paintings”

Issue 4: Fabri Publications UK Ltd, 1990.

Assimilating both notions – that of ‘adding new voices to old legends’ – and that of continuing to develop the ‘self’ and one’s art, by “…still making blots…”, one is confronted by the free-thinking Spanish writer, Gabriel Garcia MARQUEZ – and his history of family dynamics, generations, ethnic, parochial, regional and geopolitical influences on the forging of the telling and re-telling of things happening from the FIRST time! This Colombian writer first published “Cien anos de soledad” in Spanish, in 1967. ‘100 Years’ Solitude’ Harper & Row, US,1967. (Published in Language English in 1970: Gabriel Garcia MARQUEZ).

This text is claimed to be the writer’s ‘magnum opus’, with its magical realist style and thematic substance, which established its importance during the Latin American boom of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Marquez is said to have stated that “…all stories become ‘tall stories’…” and, perhaps, only because he was a genuinely free thinker, who also thought in metaphors, his text has lived on, to continue to captivate, entertain, and challenge readers!

Close scrutiny may reveal both circular and linear patterns, typical of Life, itself, creating the attractiveness of this text, in 2016; and some also note that NEW WAYS OF THINKING are responsible for the joy and longevity of ‘100 Years’ Solitude’!

.. still Spanish – still Family! – FILM: ‘THE OLIVE TREE’

Cairns was one of the regional areas to enjoy world films presented by the TRAVELLING FILM FESTIVAL – Gracias!!

People came from many of the other states in Australia, to visit Cairns for this Festival, which surprised me, but which is also a wonderful tribute to the Festival itself and to the welcome they had received in other years, so I was told, encouraging them to return for this event!

An outstanding performance, because of its warmth, humour and naturalism, was ‘The Olive Tree’, directed by Iciar BOLLAIN, and taken from a screenplay by Ken Loach’s collaborator, Paul LAVERTY.

Headstrong Alma (Anna Castillo) takes it upon itself to retrieve a TWO thousand year old olive tree, treasured by her despondent grandfather Manuel CUCALA. This film also demonstrates circular and linear patterns of family life, connections, intricacies and conflicts, as well as many reflecting socio-political threads, evident in Marquez’s novel. It is an inspiring story of the bond between family and land and moves between a degree of sentimentality and authentic emotion. The film is simple, earthy, quietly stirring and familial, regional and environmental grievances are inseparably tangled in the branches of the olive tree!


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