NCWQ Arts and Letters Report August 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies, Arts and Letters Adviser

There seems to be, wherever one looks, strong interest in the stories and images of the past. Most, represent the ideas of the times, as well as showcasing particular techniques, new developments, possibilities – change!

Ideas come to us as the successors of griefs, and griefs, at the moment they turn into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure the heart.

Marcel PROUST, ‘In Search of Lost Time’

POSSIBILITIES: Everywhere he looked he saw what UTZON saw. The drama of the harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept…

In 1965 as Danish architect Jorn UTZON’S striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart. A female journalist, is exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed in an anti-war protest and is desperate to save her two brothers from the draft. Swedish glass artist wanted to capture the newness, the possibilities. He had watched his uncle translating the shapes of nature, its sculptural language and form. In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, ‘SHELL’captures a world on the brink of seismic change through the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. (And reminds us of why taking a side matters.)

Exiled journalist, Pearl, wanted to write. As she read Kylie Tennant, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Jean Devanny, Eleanor Dark and Christina Stead, it became clear how INTERCONNECTED women were….all too familiar…they’d all lived in captivity, caught in the prescribed role of caring too much; for husbands, children, parents. Into this crowded cage they still managed to squeeze writing…good writing…in the thirties they’d published more fiction than men, while washing nappies, feeding elderly aunts, playing help-mate to husbands…pp 42/43.

Glass artist, Axel, remembered his mother’s words about the ways in which art and artists could impact the smallest things, or every part of life. ‘When you go into a place, look closely at the buildings, their windows and doors, look for paths along a river, or the seafront. So that people can walk by the water. So they can look out. And in the woods so they can look in. Seats beneath trees. Places for children to play. Do the doorways have overhangs, shelter from the rain, the snow? Or for your old mother…to rest on her way up the street? These things make people kind, Axel. They lift their spirits.’ p 82.

‘SHELL’ is an excellent Australian publication about possibilities and ideas, by the informed and insightful Kristina OLSSON. Scribner Australia, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (Australia) Pty Ltd, Cammeray, NSW, 2018. “Shell’ sanctifies the greatest of our ideas and being, from love, courage and betrayal to creation and dissent….Ashley Hay

POSTERS: Vintage Advertising posters are a remarkable part of the National Library of Australia’s collection. Big, bold and hard to miss, they have cleverly enticed curious and intrepid travellers to our shores, lured leisure seekers and seduced everyday consumers with fresh ideas about how good life can be in Australia. While the posters have physically aged, the messages they convey and the stories they tell, endure!

Advertising posters represent the ideas of their times, showcase printing techniques, and are often spectacularly illustrated by artists such as Gert Sellheim (1901-1970) and Percy Trompf (1902-1964), as well as others who are tantalising in their anonymity.

The National Library of Australia holds over 7,000 Australian advertising posters produced before 1950; though only a small number are freely available to view online. Most can be seen onsite at the Library, but as the paper becomes brittle with age and many are too delicate to handle now, the library is calling for donations to conserve and digitise the collection.

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LIVE: On the big screen! This season includes some of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet’s much-loved classical repertory, the world’s top ballet and opera stars and a selection of new productions, from Covent Garden. FAUST: Opera in Five Acts. Experience the decadence and elegance of 1870s Paris in David McVicar’s spectacular production of Gounod’s best-loved opera. WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR NEW SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI FLIGHT PATTERN: Three Ballets – One World Premiere. Two recent works and one world premiere showcase the contemporary face of The Royal Ballet. ROMEO & JULIET: Ballet in three acts. Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers encounter passion and tragedy in Kenneth Macmillan’s 20thcentury ballet masterpiece. Available Queensland-wide but check your local cinema theatre for time slots*

YOUNG ADULT READING hurtles us into a different ‘tomorrow’! This fast-paced young adult novel hints of Jane Eyre and is well worth reading. Published in London, it has been interestingly popular with readers in our Queensland libraries. ‘BRIGHTLY BURNING’ is written by Alexa DONNE, a writer who engages readers, both young and old, and holds attention and psyche, challenging traditions and encouraging new ideas! Titan Books, London SEI OUP, 2018.

“Exiled from Earth, the remnants of the human race circle the solar system in slowly disintegrating spaceships. Soon, the poorest will start to drop out of the sky…”

“A gripping examination of class, romance and survival in a dystopian future that feels chillingly relevant to our present times.” Kirkus.

…an Ice Age – waiting for Earth to warm – corrupt government officials select whowill live or die – nothing is impossible…..

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Maya Angelou,


CONVERSATION CAFES vary topics from library, in many regions of Queensland and in the Metropolis. North Queensland is currently looking forward to special guest speakers who will speak of the local history of OLD SMITHFIELD.

POSTERS/FLYERS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Say NO to tyre waste! Did you know that in Australia over 56 MILLION tyres are discarded each year? So far less than 10% is recycled! Tyre Stewardship Australia is independently run, backed by the Federal Government and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. WHAT can old tyres be used for? Soft fall playground bases, brake pads, industrial and commercial flooring and some forms of road surfacing. Flat tyre? Look for the TSA stamp of approval.

TUCK-AWAY TINY for a serious problem! THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ELDER ABUSE. National Councils in each state have advocated for investigation and change in this arena, particularly the Western Australian council. Inquiries, investigations, changes in monitoring, staff – patient ratios and heightened awareness that serious abuses and problems exist, are resultant. The Queensland Government provides a tiny, pocket-sized, mini-booklet to assist the public, with clear definitions of WHAT is defined as elder abuse/WHO the abusers often are/HOW help can be accessed/WHO can be called? There is an emergency number 000, which may be the number most vital to the elderly, particularly when in a distressed state.

HISTORY CLASSES in Queensland schools view posters: “Mummy, what did you do in the war?” “RED JOAN” directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Judi DENCH, Sophie COOKSON, Stephen CAMPBELL MOORE and Tom HUGHES, is inspired by a true story. This film is set in a picturesque village in England, where the heroine lives in contented retirement. Suddenly her tranquil existence is shattered as she’s arrested by MI5. Joan had been hiding an incredible past; she is one of the most influential war-time characters in living history.

At Cambridge University in the 1930s, the young Joan, a devoted physics student, falls in love with Russian saboteur, Leo. Through him, she sees that the world is on a knife-edge and perhaps must be saved from itself in the race to military supremacy. Post-war and working at a top-secret nuclear research facility, Joan is confronted with the impossible. Would you betray your country and your loved ones, if it meant saving them? What price would you pay for peace? Inspired by an extraordinary true story, ‘Red Joan’ is the taut and emotional discovery of one woman’s sacrifice in the face of incredible circumstances.

CAIRNS ART GALLERY engages in a range of partnerships in all art arenas, with particular emphasis, in 2019, on advancing a “…commitment to new narratives that challenge conflicting histories and contemporary interpretations around indigenous culture in Queensland and expand the parameters of contemporary art and design practice within the region.” Some partners are the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, and the remote indigenous communities of Coen in Cape York and Mer in the Torres Straits.

“QUEEN’S LAND Blak Portraiture includes early archival photographs taken during first settlement, juxtaposed with paintings and prints by indigenous and non-indigenous artists from the twentieth century through to present day.Andrea May Churcher:Director

The range of exhibitions is available online.


For our many readers, members and member organisations, these are universal goals towards which we work. These sustainable development goals have been defined by the United Nations, and noted in most international reporting. Below the list are examples of how the SDGs are indicated in reporting to the International Council of Women, compiled for April-June 2019.

  1. Poverty
  2. Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well Being
  4. Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industries
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Competition and Production
  13. Climatic Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

As New Zealand still mourns; Hong Kongprotests, with a promise that ‘peaceful protests’ are the most powerful; geopolitical giants challenge poets, painters, publishers, performers and printers to amplify voices for protection and peace-building…..

ISRAEL – An extraordinary event was held at the Cervantes Institute, Tel Aviv and the Spanish Embassy. In liaison with poet, peace advocate, fervent humanist and 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his stand with Doctors International for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Professor Ernesto KHAN,  was NCW’s own wonderful poet and Advisor,Hedva BACHRACH. Hedva’s poetry is included in a Spanish-Hebrew Anthology, with ten other Israeli writers and manySpanishwriters. Amidst the friendship and joy of Flamenco music and dance, each poet read to the audience, and ‘though experienced in participation in International Anthologies and public readings, Hedvafound thisa particularly moving event “…because it projected an atmosphere of peace through poetry…” We congratulate and celebrate peace-building with Hedva and contemporaries!  SDGs 3/4/5/17

SWEDEN will host the 3rdEuropean Conference on DOMESTIC VIOLENCElater this year. NCW Queensland, AUSTRALIA, is proud that our well-informed Advisor for Child, Youth & Family has had her research published recently, and will be addressing a segment of her research at the European Conference, scheduled for 1-4thSeptember, 2019, in Oslo.Strong, substantial partnerships have liaised to facilitate this significant Conference. These are: Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) at OsloMet/Oslo Metropolitan University and the Norwegian Centre for Violence & Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS).

Leanne FRANCIA will be speaking to the topic “Addressing family violence, post-separation – Mother’s and father’s experiences from Australia.”This issue has been of grave concern to many in diverse societies and has not been addressed well. Leanne’s thorough research, and findings will contribute to understandings and potential changes in law, policy-making, attitudes and real lives. We congratulate Leanne and wish her well for the September conference. SDGs 3/4/5/16/17

FINLAND’S ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST, Esa VIENAMO (MA) was appointed for a five year term, as regional artist for outsider art,on 11thApril 2019. Ethnomusicology is traditionally about the ways music interacts with culture,community and language, in all societies. The role, a first for the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, is to promote the artistic work opportunities of outsider artists, reinforce structures for these activities and engage marginalised artists. In particular contexts, some ‘outsider art’ forms are used for healing and mental health rehabilitation. Grants, subsidies, programmes and projects may apply to: Architecture/Art Journalism/Cinema/Circus Art/Dance/Design/Illustrations & Comics/Literature/Visual Arts/Media Art/Multidisciplinary Art/Music/Photographic Art/Theatre.   SDGs 1/3/4/8/10/12/17

GREAT BRITAIN’s Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, LONDON, is now in its 54thyear of its famous wildlife photography competition. Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcases extraordinary animal behaviour and the breathtaking diversity of life on Earth. Every photograph has a story – surprising, challenging, sad, interesting, and informative. Lots of helpful information:   SDGs 3/4/5/11/13/14/15

GREAT BRITAIN – Trustees of the British Museum,given a prized edition of a trilingual edition of literary texts covering 1100 years of Old Slavonicliteracy, from Macedonia, have been informed by curators that there is an upsurge of interest in the publication. Originally written in 80% Macedonianand 20% Albanian and Turkish, an English translation was gifted in 2011 and promoted throughout Universitylibraries andmuseums in 2012. Of multiple significance, this edition is a national literary encyclopaedia and story of the Macedonian people’s journeytowards a National Statein the Balkans. Simply, this valuable edition reflects the development of national tradition, culture and consciousness of their expression by means of language and literature. National and University Library of Macedonia.   SDGs 3/4/11/17

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