By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser
Raising spirits through writing, reading, responding, retrieving rituals, reciting, reporting, recognising, relating, researching, representing, recommending and recording is the quintessential purpose, pulse and heartbeat of the world of Arts and Letters!
Like a tapestry being unrolled, however, there shimmers beneath the surface “…another shadowy net of threads, weaving together the loves and longings of all involved” Guardian: The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracey Chevalier, Harper Collins Publishers, London W6 8JB 2003. Just as ‘The Salt Remains’ explored psychological histories and sought resolution on-stage in 2016; a visual art exhibition ‘The Dust Never Settles’ centres on works by artists who probe at cultural, environmental and psychological histories that remain unresolved. University of Queensland (Honours) Music students, Heidi Chan, Toukie Wood and Eleanor Brimblecombe are now composing new works responding to these same themes, evident in the visual art. UQ Art Museum 2017. Still following this ‘thread’, another art exhibition ‘From Relics to Rights’ weaves together stories of Aboriginal peoples with scientific anthropological evidence, to reveal congruent histories! UQ Art Museum 2017.
The written texts, stage performances, visual art, musical compositions and anthropological talks all demonstrate a willingness to undertake journeys of memory, and reflect the stark and energetic purpose of Mary-Lee Grisanti’s novel ‘Rare Earth’, which screams at us to become authentically politically literate, because “…Life is infinitely precious…” Hodder & Stoughton, UK, 1987. Using juxtapositions of knowledge and experience, it is noteworthy that resolution, solace, solutions, understanding and change can generate from a Chorus of voices, in the busy, energetic and vibrant world of arts and letters!
We walk on –
Libraries are distributing colourful brochures to encourage parents to share stories, rhymes, singing, talking and playing, in short sessions to support the knowledge that an estimated 90% of a child’s brain development occurs in the first 5 years of the child’s life! first5forever.org.au
Indonesia – Two young Australian women run the extraordinary, ethical ‘slow fashion’ business, making and marketing handbags, totes, wallets and purses, sewn on a foot-powered sewing machine, for the culturally and eco-sensitive ‘EMPIRE OF BEES’. This unusual business sustains a group of villagers in Eastern Java. www.empire of bees.com.au
Papua New Guinea – Some of the mothers of our International students from Papua New Guinea have spoken of the ‘Birthing in the Pacific’ project, developed by Soroptimist International, South West Pacific; through which upskilling of birth attendants in hospitals, clinics and Aid Posts was planned. Communication, letters and ongoing education are all vital to this valuable project, saving many more precious little lives. www.siswp.org
Old and New – The past, it is said, is a wise song, and its music should always be playing. There seems to be a range of peoples’ visual ART missing in galleries, however….Traditional, beautiful art is being rehoused in the Queensland Art Gallery; overwhelming volumes of Aboriginal art works are hung; yet one wonders about the artworks of the myriad other artists from myriad other cultures – where are they? Perhaps we can look forward to new exhibitions as the year unfolds…..?
A busy year, all in all, with lots still to be done in the world of Communications: Arts and Letters! – Congratulations and thank you to everyone for support, laughter, friendship, advancement, collaboration and energetic advocacy.
Writer, Mary Oliver asks: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”