What an honour to have my small piece Portals included in a recent Newcastle Writers Festival podcast about prose poetry & microfiction!
This episode features Beth Spencer and Cassandra Atherton chatting about the form and its history here. They also talk about Cassandra’s fabulous Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry. (My copy is dog-eared all the way through! I have so many highlights!)
I really liked what Cassandra and Beth had to say about the white space on the page, and the visual aspect of microlit too.
Over the years, Maree Clarke’s practice has ranged across jewellery, sculpture, photography, printmaking and video. Clarke is a Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung woman who grew up in regional Victoria and now lives in Melbourne, and a large part of her work involves reclaiming cultural knowledge, such as making kangaroo teeth necklaces and possum skin cloaks.
Clarke spoke to Jane O’Sullivan about her drive to tell First Nations stories through art, in whatever form that takes, and her major show at the National Gallery of Victoria, Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories, which surveys 30 years of her diverse practice.
Jane O’Sullivan: You’ve worked across many mediums, finding different ways to tell stories through art. You seem to have such a clear sense of purpose, but where does that story start? What was your path to art?
Maree Clarke: I didn’t go to art school or even finish high school. I pretty much wagged as often as I could. I would catch the bus to school and when I got there, I would cut through the school and meet the other black kids down the channel… When I was in my teens, I used to just about turn myself inside out wondering what my purpose in life was.
Then I was an Aboriginal Educator at the local primary school from 1978 to 1987. And after that, the local Aboriginal Corporation wanted to set up an Aboriginal art shop in Mildura and my brother Peter, who was a brilliant artist, started making jewellery for the shop. He gave me my first pair of earrings and it took me about 15 goes before I was happy with the end design, to actually show people and sell. And basically, I haven’t stopped making jewellery since.
With an eye for capturing the colonial holds of history while communicating her profound spiritual connection to Country, in My Place – Before Marlene Gilson paints the history of her home. In vibrant, detailed and narrative-driven works, she shows the ongoing presence of Wathaurung people through the goldrush, alongside the building of Ballarat and the years that followed. Full story on Art Guide.
Atong Atem’s commanding works examine the power dynamics embedded in photography, the role of the photographer, and postcolonial and diaspora narratives.
In photographic portraiture, “there will always be some kind of imbalance, even with collaboration,” she says. “I’m interested in how we can challenge the way that power has historically been wielded.”
Full story in the print edition of Art Guide, January-February 2020. Cover artwork is Atong Atem’s Self Portrait in Blue, 2018.
I spoke with Jumaadi about his major exhibition My love is an Island Far Away at Mosman Art Gallery. The title is taken from a poem by Chairil Anwar. As he says:
The poem is celebrating the independence from the Dutch in 1945. It was written about 1946, and then he died a year later, around 27-years old. It captured the restlessness of the time, but in the manner of romantic poetry. I guess that’s how I approach my work, with a grand narrative but very personalised. It’s about love and birth and a way of connecting people.
“I’m not ever trying to just paint a photograph,” says Mark Tweedie. “The way I paint, I’m being very selective. My paintings are more like a memory…The things that I’m not interested in, or that may not be relevant or have little meaning to me, I make them less saturated, I use washes on those aspects, I keep the paint quite thin. Whereas if there’s something I really want to draw attention to, or it’s something that I remember, then I use colour or thicker impasto paint or a different technique, a more controlled or tighter technique.”
Full interview in the print edition of Vault, Issue 28, November 2019-January 2020.