Arts Report October-November 2021

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts, Letters and Music Adviser (gramunicorn75@gmail.com)

“It’s a PHOENIX,” said Ginie, “to remind us all beautiful things can be reborn of ashes!”
The Mother’s Group: Fiona Higgins p.301

Contemporary life is a fusion of faith, fear, frenzy, French film, freedoms, fantastic phrases, fabulous fine arts, fresh ideas and Friendship! Throughout the fusion and confusion generated by the Covid-19 virus, and  human responses to this invader, grand efforts persisted to provide protection for women and girls, truth telling and choice. I include in this report a glimpse of a year’s work by NCWQ Arts/Letters portfolio and an extract from a submission to State government, to which this portfolio contributed, in collaboration with all of our wonderful Advisors.

ARTS, LETTERS AND MUSIC REPORT 2020-2021 AGM 2021 Advisors’ Reports

Interwoven with creativity, calming and communicating through literature, arts and music, is a deep connection with the elements, nature, and a quintessential humanity; time-honoured as the very foundation of health and wellbeing in psyche and soul. Covid challenges; newness nourishes, and communications continue, softly soothing, generously gestating raw resilience! Huge thanks to Noela O’Donnell, Leonie Christopherson, Elisabeth Newman, Avril Kent, Hean Bean Wee, Christine Knock and other outstanding members of our councils, for maintaining strong, sustained, successful networks! Salut!

2020 birthed an unprecedented flourishing of Book Swapping and Book Sharing. Art  galleries opened and closed and devised new ways of facilitating glorious exhibitions for the public, in virtual and actual contexts.  Our Queensland Symphony Orchestra reinvented and recomposed some of the old Classics, sharing Vivaldi and Chopin in transformative compositions. www.qso.com.au Professor Jolanda Jetten posed the serious question “…do we want freedom or health?” UQ Contact Aug/Sept 2020. Sophia Baines was presented with her Certificate for her Bursary in Cairns. Queensland’s Jane Smith launched her second book in her Carley series, celebrating women’s history and achievements. ABC Classical Radio broadcast Chamber Musicians, Brahms and Beethoven. Christmas carols, visual arts and gatherings were constricted in December 2020. Queensland’s Jill Bolen launched her inspiring collection of memoirs, with special mention of long-term relationships with NCWQ and with colleague and past-president, Noela O’Donnell.

2021 unearthed more books, including one written by Diane Cilento, Sunshine Coast child of Lady Cilento and Sir Raphael Cilento. NCWQ furnished our international advisor with a brief outline of possibilities in the world of music, in Australia. QPAC  and Opera Queensland were able to perform, at 50% capacity, following COVID guidelines. February/March celebrated the Chinese Year of the Ox and March brought us details and photos of the newly established Turkish women’s Culture, Arts and Letters Commission. April/May brought us linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky and artist/writer Camille Paglia with views on effects of post-modernism on art and the art world. Libraries opened their doors to greater numbers and Storytime sessions were available for children. QBD and Australian Geographic offered a range to celebrate female authors prior to International Women’s Day. newsletter@edm.qbd.com.au

Literature, Rhyme, Poetry, Posters, Photographs and newsletters continued to promote “Social Protection for all Women and Children: Sustainable Development for the World” – our focus for this triennium. The value of information sharing was highlighted by a special project preserving a collection of all of the above at The National Library of Australia, conserving the historicity and heroines of the Australian Federation of Women Voters. AFVW  nla/gov.au Queenslanders were able to enjoy film for a time; and live performances were also enjoyed. GOMA announced its European Masters from New York and Canberra presented Botticelli to Van Gogh masterpieces from the National Gallery London. APRC shared information from the Pacific and South East regions and NCWQ advisors were involved in compiling a submission with recommendations to address Social Isolation and Loneliness.  A busy and productive year!   Jennifer Ann DAVIES

 

PERFORMING ARTS

LIVE THEATRE has delighted Queensland audiences, in Brisbane city and in regional areas. In the Far North, HAMLET & the Climate Emergency will be performed by Tropical Arts at the Tanks on Friday 22 October and Saturday 23 October. Tropical Arts website will also livestream performances. An inclusive, diverse cast fuses theatre, dance and music with powerful digital landscapes. The performances by this group are always delightful, highly entertaining, and challenge audiences to explore, further, themes both implicit and explicit in renditions, with a major exploration in HAMLET being the tragic aftermath of betrayal. Supported by Arts Queensland. secretary.tropicalarts@gmail.com  SDGs 10/12/4/3

 

FILM

CHALLENGES AND CHOICE also present in a satirical, yet tender comedy, presenting three of France’s most endearing leading ladies – Juliette Binoche, Noemie Lvovsky and Yolande  Moreau – in “HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE”. Set in the lush regions of Alsace, protests and a vision of transformation of society encourages a journey of liberation. C’est bon! SDGs 5/4/3

“EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE” 1889 brings viewers Paris, the brilliant Gustave Eiffel and both  an extraordinary project and love that change lives and the face of Paris forever” Magnifique! SDGs 11/10/3/4

 

CHANGE AND CHOICE

“Knowledge is Choice…” Leonie Christopherson NCWA/ICW

My international colleague and co-ordinator, Leonie Christopherson, was president of NCWA from 2003-2006, during which time she authorised the publication and distribution of a small booklet: 45 years on: WHAT NOW IN CONTRACEPTIVES?

CONTRACEPTIVE CHOICES FOR AUSTRALIAN WOMEN: My international colleague and co-ordinator, Leonie Christopherson, was president of NCWA from 2003-2006, during which time she authorised the publication and distribution of a small booklet: 45 years on: WHAT NOW IN CONTRACEPTIVES? Contributions to this publication include: Professor Gab Kovacs “Contraceptive options for Australian Women”; Dr Terri Foran “History of contraceptives”; Dr Neisha Wratten “What NOW in contraception?” and Bianca Dye “Being a busy girl.” Neisha added a small quote from Germaine Greer: “ The management of fertility is one of the most important functions of adulthood.” NCWA first met in 1896 in Sydney. Through a national network of Standing Committees the NCWA works to address issues of concern to all women and their families and acts as a voice or agent of communication on an Australian-wide basis. Leonie Christopherson AM President 2003-2006 I have some copies of this booklet if anyone would like a copy for the sake of historicity and evidence of progress for women in making choices.

EXTRACT FROM SUBMISSION TO QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT: (S/C Communication)

SOCIAL ISOLATION AND LONLINESS IN QUEENSLAND – Responses throughout COVID have been varied, creative and helpful. Predominantly electronic media, teleconferencing and Televisitor schemes  (info@itccovid.org) supported great numbers of isolated citizens to some degree. Arts, Letters and Music suffered, particularly performers, support crews, visual artists and musicians who are not considered “essential workers” so financial difficulties were added to those of social distancing and isolation.  Voices from the world of Arts/Letters/Music continue to work with the goal of PROTECTING WOMEN AND CHILDREN. (National Council of Women Queensland Inc., National Council of Women Australia, International Council of Women, United Nations). The voices, however, need SAFE PLACES TO TELL THEIR STORY and STRONG PROGRAMS TO REINFORCE RESPECT AND RESILIENCE! The Lebanese Council of Women is currently focussing on social and emotional intelligence to support women and girls to cope in tough situations. (ECICW GA 27 May 2021).

The COVID pandemic has revealed existing and increasing examples of Social Isolation, with particular, repeated state, national and global concerns raised about  domestic abuse.  The NATURE and extent of the IMPACT of domestic abuse cannot be underestimated, as writer Jess Hill has stated. Replacing the term ‘domestic violence’ with  ‘domestic abuse’ was critical “…because in some of the worst abusive relationships, physical violence is rare, minor or barely present.” (‘See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse’ Jess Hill: Black Inc. www.blackincbooks.com: 2019) Enforced poverty, coercive control, and  deliberate isolation are factors. Enforced poverty exists when the ‘perceived’ breadwinner withholds income and a partner has to work, pay the bills, and take care of the children and household. Differently, in Ingham, in North Queensland, coercive control is ‘driven’ by the cultural mores of a patriarchal society, and numbers of young women feel trapped, housebound; are not ‘allowed’ to work and not ‘allowed’ to have their own bank account. (Personal Interviews June 2021) These young women are not visibly ‘isolated and lonely’ in the traditional sense of the words, as they may have a home, furnishings, food and other things that a person struggling with alternate abuses may not – however, they ARE lonely, they ARE isolated from the freedoms that many enjoy and their homes are not necessarily SAFE.  Information on other elements of domestic abuse as a driver for social isolation, loneliness and poverty was sent to the Honourable Di Farmer MP and a response indicating delivery of 140 recommendations was received on 29 April 2020. Your ref: MO/ID# 5770; CSYW 01737-2020.

There also exist the elderly, ill, rural, remote dwellers – (boats, trawlers, Circus, the Brethren: Distance Ed/Education Qld.); variations in support systems for migrants and refugees – African community members have greater numbers, and greater cash flow but the Hmong refugees are quieter, poorer and fewer in numbers ,and had low literacy levels in their mother tongue, so are more isolated and the elders are often very lonely. (Cairns African Association/Yang, Chang, Xiong 2002). Our Australian Indigenous Women in local and remote communities suffer. Safe Houses, genuine communal UNDERSTANDING of the nature of suffering/isolation, Literacy and Resilience Training are distinct protective factors.

Some existing Protective Factors address geography, housing, social positioning, Illiteracy, poverty, hunger, coercion, violence, sexual abuse, job loss, illness, ageing, accidents and racial differences. Data is compiled by organisations, including the OECD, Relationships Australia and TAFE colleges. Clients, however, recorded by Relationships Australia, TAFE colleges and Community Care links etc. are often forced by existing laws, rules, and/or outsourced counsellors to attend sessions. This differs greatly, from a Yarning Centre or Safe House, where people can talk safely and comfortably and not be forced by socio-legal systems and rules. New programs run by PCYC help youth from remote and local areas to rebuild self-confidence and resilience, using sport, fitness training, outdoor activities and boxing. A new, free program for women who have been or likely to be experiencing domestic and family violence. RUBY can link participants into existing local services for support, information, referrals and resources. tara.white@pcyc.org.au 

Argentina and Brazil implemented revised laws and constitutional change to provide POLICE  STATIONS FOR WOMEN.www.bbc.com 2020 (NCWQ/NCWA). France continues to engage in the “Grenelle of Domestic Violence” with the High Court. (GREVIO Nov 2019: ICW). The Conseil National des Femmes Francaises continues to reiterate the terms of The Istanbul Convention of 11 May 2020protesting against femicide in Poland and Turkey. www.cnff.fr Ukraine’s data reveals the most significant violence throughout COVID is against young girls and boys. (Lyudmyla Porokhnak NCWUkraine 25 May 2021).  Belgium highlights the tragic issue of FEMICIDE yet again. (Magda de Meyer: ICW/European Women’s Lobby Brussels. 2020/2021).  IN AUSTRALIA ..one Woman a week is killed by a man she’s been intimate with.”(Jess Hill: See What You Made Me Do:p.2) We do not hear the word ‘femicide’ here, yet it existsCanberra’s SLEEP BUS is a healthy example of protection WHEN IT IS NEEDED – although this utility has been thwarted throughout Covid. (NCWA 2021). Tunisia currently works hard to support and protect women and families in rural areas.(ICW 2021). Turkey continues online support to combat isolation with classes including Pottery, Painting, Languages and Literacy learning.(ICW 2021). Israel currently experiences another wave of COVID-19 with many Israeli and Palestinian children  in hospital suffering from the Delta strain. (Hedva Bachrach: Israel ICW: 20 June 2021). Malta, Indonesia, Fiji and others suffer new Covid Crisis.(Violet Caruana 17/7/21: BBC 16/7/21: Uli Silalah ICW)). Women stand together for protection and support in this dire crisis.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • That SPECIALIST SAFE HOUSES or FACILITIES for those under threat, beaten, bleeding, locked out of their homes and under further threat BE PROVIDED IMMEDIATELY.
  • That SPECIALIST POLICE SERVICES or TEAMS be provided to respond to the ISSUE AT HAND, to provide protection and safety without having to wait for dictates from an already long winded and congested family law system. SPECIALIST POLICE FACILITIES ARE POSSIBLE*
  • That the many existing organisations providing counselling services and/or programs have built in specific MODULES ON RESPECT AND RESILIENCE to strengthen clients. Many services, particularly counselling, weaken clients and this prohibits resilience and independence. (further information and data can be provided for this.)
  • That there are revised systems to validate the outcomes of existing programs, organisations and forms of counselling. More Funding does not always generate success, particularly in addressing social isolation and loneliness. Replacing models for measuring outcomes is recommended.

Jennifer Ann DAVIES – Advisor Arts/Letters/Music- National Council of Women Queensland   Advisor Arts/Letters International Council of Women/Teacher/Trainer/Journalist/Comm Dec: Attorney General Queensland/Writer/International Poet/Counsellor Migrant Women/BA JCU/Post Grad Dip Ed.UQ/Marketing USQ.

 

VISUAL ART

QAGOMA is extending hours to allow art lovers an exciting “soaking” of the European Masters before they leave the country again!

The gallery promises unforgettable art, music performances, live drawing lessons and more… enews@qagoma.qld.gov.au  SDGs 4/3/17

CAIRNS ART GALLERY is currently displaying The Botanical Art of the Tropical Rainforest

CAIRNS ART GALLERY is currently displaying The Botanical Art of the Tropical Rainforest, with stunning works by the extraordinary, late William T. Cooper (1934-2015).Not only was this gentleman notable as a painter of birds but he was also a masterful botanical artist. These wonderful works are on display until 13 February 2022 – a Treat for locals and visitors! www.cairnsartgallery.com.au SDGs 3/4/12/17

 

QUEENSLAND MUSIC TRAILS

Mt Isa –                 Symphony Under the Stars

Gold Coast –       Qld Outback Spectacular

Undara FNQ-     Undara Outback Rock and Blues

Brisbane –           The Moving Stills/ Half the World Away/ Flooded Gum

There are also opportunities, renditions, on-site services and online classes possible at the following: Brisbane Music Studio, Brisbane Music Academy and Browning Street Studios. With a prominent and constantly evolving live music scene, you may want to check out what is offering. www.visitbrisbane.com.au  www.theweekendedition.com.au SDGs 3/4/12

 

THE WORLD OF LETTERS – What are Queenslanders and Australians reading?

Bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has penned numerous suspense novels, collections of short stories, an historical novel, a memoir, children’s books and co-authored, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, more suspense novels! I was gifted a huge copy of The Crime Files – three books in one hefty text! Each story: Daddy’s Little Girl, Where are You Now? And I Heard that Song Before, certainly earned the comment from the Guardian: “Scared the hell out of me.” Simon & Schuster UK 2017 www.simonandschuster.co.uk SDGs 4/3/11/16

Jo Nesbo – COCKROACHESan early Harry Hole case. Nesbo is a musician, songwriter, economist and prize-winning author. www.jonesbo.co.uk Don Bartlett is as freelance translator of Scandinavian literature. Harvill Secker/Random House London 2013  www.randomhouse.co.uk SDGs 11/14/16

“Among Norwegians living in Thailand, there is a rumour that one of their ambassadors, who died as a result of a car accident in Bangkok, was actually murdered under extremely mysterious circumstances. There is no evidence to support this, but it makes for a good story. No persons or events mentioned in this book should be confused with real persons or events. Reality is far too strange for that.” Jo Nesbo Bangkok 23 Feb 1998.

…a special mission – Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok…The Norwegian Ambassador has been found dead….Harry needs to solve a crime and avoid a scandal, but in an unfamiliar city WHO can you trust?

ODD THOMAS Dean Koontz – Harper Collins London 2004 www.harpercollins.co.uk He’s odd. Odd Thomas, to be precise. Philosophically unusual and mysterious, this novel is both gentle and macabre! Odd is worried. He knows things, see things – about the living, the dead and soon to be dead.

“…once pop music had still been politically innocent, therefore deeply life affirming, therefore relevant….(later)…most pop songs had become…anthems endorsing the values of fascism, which remains the case to this day.” p.50 “Considering that the modern and contemporary literature taught in most universities is largely bleak, cynical, morbid, pessimistic, misanthropic dogmatism, often written by suicidal types who sooner or later kill themselves with alcohol, drugs or shotguns, Professor Takuda was a remarkably cheerful man.” p.309

THE PHILOSOPHER’S DOLL written by one of Australia’s most admired writers, looks at male/female divides: love and reality, fate and chance, work and the baby. Amanda Lohrey has written a highly unusual, constantly surprising novel about the perennial conflict between the head and the heart. Thought provoking and compellingly readable, it reverberates with the dilemmas of contemporary life. In a culture of affluence, what do we need to be happy? Additionally, just how much control do we really have over our lives? Penguin Group Australia 2005 Typeset by Post Pre-press Group Brisbane Qld.

“…woolly talk about the heart is little more than weak camouflage for prejudice, laziness and stupidity…” p.3    “Relatively? What does that mean? NOT absolute, that’s what it means. Not absolute, or existing by itself.” Lohrey pops the following, into this unusual text: “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius SDGs 3/4/5/10

THE ROSAMUNDE PILCHER COLLECTION includes: The Day of the Storm, Another View and Sleeping Tiger. Best selling novelist and short story writer, Pilcher returns to her beloved Cornwell, as she did in the novel and film “The Shell Seekers”.  There is some thematic repetition, drawn from her own family life, yet each novel will enchant and delight. Coronet Paperbacks Great Britain 1992. SDGs 3/4/11

“Another View” – Artist, Ben Litton, “…uses his brush as a surgeon’s scalpel, first laying bare the hidden sickness, then treating it with the utmost compassion…(applying that compassion)…to his war-time drawings of shelter groups and fire fighters…”  “..of his post-war work they said: ‘Other painters abstract from nature. Litton abstracts from imagination….vital.’” pp.275/276

Another treasure from Scandinavia – Praise for Lars Kepler – “One of the most hair-raising crime novels published this year.” Sunday Times An astonishing novel translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith. LAZARUS Harper Collins Publishers, London 2020. Sweden’s most notorious serial killer has come back from the dead.  He doesn’t just kill you. He buries your loved ones alive.

The Kepler sensation exploded and went straight to No 1 in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Iceland and the Czech Republic in accelerated time. Lars Kepler is the pseudonym for writing duo Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril.  They live with their family in Sweden. www.larskepler.com SDGs 4/3/1/11/16

I have promoted Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist at the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciares et de Medecine Legale, Quebec, many times. Although more blood and bones, murder and mayhem, her novels bring to the reader gifts – ideas, quintessential truths, new sciences, electrifying psychological insights and an invasive unmissable awareness of the significance of compassion, a congruent humanity – and their opposites! Monday Mourning is brilliant. Arrow Books London 2008 SDGs 4/5/11/17  “A Conspiracy of Bones launches at maximum velocity and never lets up.” Sandra Brown author of ‘Outfox’.  www.simonandschuster.com.au 2020. SDGs 3/4/5/11/16  EVERY  BODY  HAS  SECRETS!

QUEENSLAND AUTHORS chat about their new books for 2021 on www.readingradio.org.au I will bring you some of these authors and two new anthologies from our own Stefanie Bennett In December 2021.

 


 

From a friend, for my birthday! “Every day when you start work you have two options: be focused, passionate and productive,  or act like most other people!”

Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts, Letters and Music Adviser
Salut!

Jennifer Ann DAVIES
National Council of Women Queensland Inc.
International Council of Women/ Conseil International des Femmes

gramunicorn75@gmail.com

 

 

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