Citizen 457

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Local based dance theatre company, in Helvetica’s new work delves into contentious conversations around citizenship. In Helvetica is a contemporary performance ensemble, based in Upwey, making unique and quirky new work through improvisation and play. Comprised of contemporary dancer Sara Di Segna, performance maker Toni Main and musician Gene Holland, In Helvetica explores the everyday world through movement, storytelling and sound.

Their new work, Citizen 457, will open next Wednesday as part of the La Mama Explorations Program. Citizen 457 is an improvised dance theatre response to the legislation in our country regarding emigration, refugees and citizenship. In Helvetica have drawn from their experiences and struggles with national pride, visa applications, and ineffectual compassion. It explores the questions around what it means to belong.

To belong to Australia.

To be a citizen.

It gets harder to answer these questions in a world that more often raises walls, protecting the borders instead of the people.

Ensemble member Sara Di Segna is originally from Italy, currently living in Australia on the controversial 457 visa. She left Italy in the throes of economic turmoil and has been in Australia for five years. She has been creating and performing with in Helvetica for four of those years. Earlier this year, her right to stay in Australia came into question which became a springboard for the development of the work. Gene Holland explains what happened,

“We were working together on a children’s show, and in our breaks we would often find ourselves discussing the political climate, trying to come to grips with the decisions our government was constantly making for us, but this all came to the front when Sara’s ability to stay in the country came into question through no fault of her own. The government decided to abolish the 457 visa, the visa that enabled Sara to live here, and the ramifications of this decision where a big unknown. In the end there were no changes to current holders of the visa, but that moment of instability rocked us.”

The three performers felt hurt, let down, angry and afraid. So, they decided to express themselves by making a work that unpacked the situation that they, and many others, find themselves in.

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There are two sides to the performance. On the one hand there is Sara’s story; the story of the migrant, trying to find her place, and on the other hand there is Toni and Gene. They are Australian, born and raised, but what does that mean? How can they have pride in their country when they are confronted with what Australia is doing, the disgusting way we treat refugees, the devastating destruction of our natural environment, and the complete disrespect for the indigenous people of the land on which we live.

Are you a proud Australian?

The in Helvetica ensemble asked themselves that very question and out came Citizen 457.

“Many of the values Australians hold dear regarding our country, such as mateship and a “fair go”­, are not being upheld in our legislation, and we are passively allowing them to be eroded from our culture, particularly when it comes to people seeking a fresh start in this country. Many of these people have a greater appreciation than many of us for the relative privilege we live in, and feel an affinity to a society with a rich multicultural history. As someone who was born and raised in regional Australia, I’ve held pride in the opportunities my country has been able to provide people from many different backgrounds. Our diversity is our backbone. To feel belonging is to be welcomed with open arms.” – Gene Holland.

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Citizen 457 is the response. It isn’t asking questions, and it’s not finding solutions, it’s exploring the response; those moments of confusion, frustration and anger. Coming to terms with our perceived inability to do anything about the politics and dealing with the possibility of displacement. In exploring these emotions, the ensemble found that there was also joy and companionship within the connection between people, the moments when someone supports you, stands up for your rights and helps you to continue the struggle.

Whether you agree or disagree with us, let’s start the conversation

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Citizen 457
6.30pm Wednesday 13th December
8.30pm Thursday 14th December
6.30pm Friday 15th December

La Mama Courthouse theatre
349 Drummond st, Carlton

Book at: http://lamama.com.au
All tix $15

Citizen 457 will be performing as part of the La Mama Explorations 2017 program.

To find out more about in Helvetica go to www.inhelvetica.weebly.com
or their facebook page.

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Get poor quick

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Tell me a bit about your latest book.

Okay, so the book is called:

GET POOR QUICK through Poetry (and other arty enterprises)
101 super easy steps to obscurity, disappointment and straight-up cashlessness.

It’s the mutant book-baby of a troubled artist and a life coach. It’s a self un-help book. It’s petite – 5 x 7 in old-school inches, 130 pages. Hopefully it’s a feather to the funny bone, and chink in armoured self-righteousness.

Most simply I would describe it as a funny, self-help parody for artists and art appreciators.

Are these ‘pearls of wisdom’ derived from your own life experience or are they more universal?

Basically, yes, this wisdom (if you can call it that) has emerged from my life and experiences. I’ve been a poet for 26 years now, and Poetry and Poverty have always gone hand-in-hand for me. And recently, I just got to the point where, instead of trying to fight that, I thought I’d embrace it. Perhaps ironically, I do sort-of survive as a poet, doing workshops and school incursions and gigs and selling a few books here and there. I don’t earn much, but it’s just enough to survive with other little bits of book design work.

Universal wisdom? I’m not sure if there such a thing. Because the same single piece of advice can be perfectly correct for one person at their stage in life and development, but completely wrong for another person at different stage. So I ‘spose I’m saying I’m slightly dubious of any universal truths. But, at the same time – paradoxically – I DO think there are some universals and absolutes that do apply to all humans. So as you can see, I’m a deeply confused individual. The perfect person to write a book about obscurity and disappointment.

 Are self-help books really helpful?

Yes, I think some self-help books can be properly helpful! BUT some are not! The ones that I have a problem with are those that strongly assert with absolute certainty – they make me dubious. I think we as humans often want things to be more clear and simple that reality is. Maybe it’s because of my age, or some of the heartbreaking experiences I’ve had, but these days I am just very cautious around simple assertions of certainties which some self-help books are prone to.

You mention ‘brainstorming this book with arty friends’, is this book just for artists?

Yes. It should be illegal for anyone who is not an artist to read this book. Anyone who does not have a full-time, full-on creative practice should be forbidden from consuming these illuminating instructional insider insights!!!!!!

Or… on second thoughts… my sister’s a civil engineer, and she said she really liked it.

So actually, I think, anyone who enjoys the arts will enjoy this. As well as artists themselves.

If being rich is most people’s idea of success. What’s your idea of success?

For me, money has never been my currency. That’s not me being noble or anything, I just can’t get myself excited by it. I know we all need a bit of money. Because if you don’t have enough for rent or food or for when the car suddenly breaks down, life just gets way too stressful.

I’m totally open to being rich. I think I’d be really good at it. And I’d be willing for this book to sell millions and set me up for life. That would be the most hilarious irony. But earning money is not the primary motivation for doing books and projects like this.

The richness I value sits more around authenticity, communication, friendship, openness and community. So success for me usually has something to do with enabling these things in myself and in others.

You’ve written 21 books, what do you most enjoy about the writing process?

I remember in high school I just loved doing projects – the process of getting information, adding pictures, finding a sense of flow or narrative and then packaging it up into a pretty little self-contained entity – was just fun and satisfying for me. And these days, doing a book, is just like doing a high school project, but then I try to sell it to people! It’s just been a natural evolution.

And there is something unique about working towards writing, producing and designing a physical book. It can really focus your mind, because you know it’s going to go out into the world, and potentially be around for hundreds of years. This motivates me to produce the best result I can in that moment.

Where and when is the launch and where can people get the book?

The book is available locally at the Belgrave Book Barn, Little Rebellion and Grunge Cafe (thanks to those guys for the lovely local support!!!). And you can also buy it directly from my website www.webcameron.com, and I’ll mail it out to you promptly.

The launch is on Dec 11, 2017 between 6 and 8pm (7pm formalities)
25 Matson Drive, Upwey, VIC (just across the road from Burrinja).

There will be light refreshments, and dark refreshments.
RSVP: Yeah, go old-school and tell me if you’re coming, it’ll help with catering:
0438 72 55 88

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Chill Fest begins

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Tell me a bit about this festival?

Chill Fest is a wellness & yoga festival designed to leave festival-goers feeling better than when they came in. With great local yoga and meditation facilitators, you can enjoy a taster of what the Hills has to offer. Yoga rave, market stalls, meditation, kids dance workshops, good food and a selection of classes, Chill Fest is your one-stop shop to try something new and feeling incredible.

Is this the first chill fest?

Yes, Flan (Mike Flannery) & I (Krystal Bassett) work in events for different companies but we decided to use our experience and skills to organise our own festival.

Tell me a bit about your background and why you decided to create this festival.

I spent many years in Manchester, UK putting on late night events and performing in various bands and Flan (also a from the UK) works for a production company here in Victoria, touring with various artists around the country.

Now settled in Olinda, we are moving away from the party lifestyle and enjoying the luxury of many more early nights! (Flan may argue this! He still enjoys a few beers!)

After feeling the benefits of my journey into meditation and yoga, I felt inspired to put on a festival where people can know that their mind, body and soul will be energised and nourished. Rather than feeling terrible the next day.

Mike-and-Krystal

What drove you to host this festival in the hills?

After meeting so many passionate Hills folk at various events or in cafes, I wanted to bring everyone together and to meet more like-minded locals. We would love to really be a part of the Hills community and encourage others to spend more time with each other – in this day and age there are too many people cooped up in their homes – we would love anyone, any age, to come along and make friends.

What is unique about this event?

We are completely self funded, this allows Chill Fest to be free of advertising and to stick to our ethics. You wont find a disposable coffee cup at our barista cart Pookie May (there are mugs) and you had better BYO water bottle too. Plus, there is amazing veggie food from Babji’s Kitchen and Jerry’s Vegiburgers.

We hope that Chill Fest has a feel of acceptance and is an approachable way to try less commercial practices like sound healing and Raja yoga. Everyone is welcome and can ask for support with any practices that they are unsure about.

Why do you think these sorts of ideas are becoming more important to people now (and in the future)?

I really feel that we are all becoming more conscious and if people take steps to be mindful & respect themselves (body, mind and soul), then they are more able to be compassionate to others, bringing us together in these turbulent times and making the world a better place to live.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

We have been in Olinda for 3 years and although we have spent time with our community on art and musical events, this is really our first time engaging as a couple. We would love to help the community in many other ways throughout the years.

 

Where can people find more information and buy tickets?

Chill Fest is this Saturday 28th October 11am-10pm.
For more info and to buy tickets go to www.chillfest.co
or you can turn up with your yoga mat and pay on the door.
$35 standard, $20 concessions (with ID), under 12yrs Free.

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Sense of Place

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JD Mittmann curator of “Frank Hodgkinson: Sense of Place”

Post by Hannah Raisin

Burrinja Curator JD Mittmann has been working on a new exhibition exploring the work of one of Australia’s most important abstract artists. Frank Hodgkinson: Sense of Place is currently in the Burrinja Gallery until 5 November, this compelling show features a number of artworks never exhibited in Victoria. I caught up with JD to discover more about the exhibition and how his research and understanding of the artist have shaped the exhibition.

When did you first encounter Frank Hodgkinson’s work and what drew you to it?

Strangely, my first encounter with Frank Hodkinson’s work goes back to when I started working at Burrinja in 2011 when a large canvas painting sat in the corridor next to the gallery. Neil McLeod owned it and had “parked” it there. The piece was impressive, quite similar to the work ‘Evolution’ which is in the exhibition.

It was not until years later when a collector friend of mine in Sydney mentioned Hodgkinson again, I recollected the work, and it appeared that Peter knows Franks’ wife Kate very well.

Learning that Hodgkinson was not only one of Australia’s most prolific abstract artists and illustrators but also had spent time in New Guinea and Arnhem Land made it a perfect fit for us, given the nature of our collection.

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JD Mittmann hanging one of the works.

How did the idea for Sense of Place come about?

It was the artists strong connection to the places he travelled to and lived at that presented the title. Hodgkinson immersed himself in Spanish culture and tradition when he lived in Spain (on the Island of Mallorca) in the first half of his career. Later, the tropics of New Guinea and its tribal cultures became an inspiration and then, at last, Australia’s Top End and Aboriginal culture and rock art in Arnhem Land drew him in.

The works in the exhibition, Hodgkinson’s oeuvre altogether, give the viewer this strong sense of how connected he was to landscape, fauna and flora. He was a keen observer and his drawing and illustrations prove this.

In the process of curating the show you visited the Hodgkinson estate and spent time with his wife Kate. Can you describe some of your impressions of the artists working environment?

Frank met Kate (a potter who became his third wife) on Clifton Pugh’s bush property Dunmoochin, near Hurstbridge in 1970. They travelled around Australia for a few months before returning to Sydney where Frank originated from. He had always admired the Hawkesbury River region and it was there that they eventually bought a property perched on a cliff overlooking the O’Hara Creek. Right in the middle of the bush.

Frank built a house and studio. Needless to say that he was totally at home there, studying, drawing and painting banksias and eucalypts. They called the property Geebung, after the local trees. It is beautiful. Peaceful.

The house is filled with objects Kate and Frank collected on their travels. Many carvings from New Guinea, barks and sculptures from Arnhem Land adorn the living space. The garden is filled with sculptures and pottery they both produced. As a visitor you get a sense of the creative energy.

The exhibition showcases Hodgkinson’s work along with a number of cultural artefacts from various collections, can you talk about the relationships between the objects and the artworks and how you have woven them into the exhibition.

The objects reflect Frank and Kate’s deep admiration for Indigenous cultures. Frank studied them and illustrated them. For the exhibition we selected some which appear in his published diaries. We present them with the corresponding original illustrations so visitors can make the connection.

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Did the experience of visiting Hodgkinson’s studio and home change the way you perceive his work?

It did. I think you always get a better picture of a person if you see the space they inhabit, the kitchen, the book shelves, the art, and of an artist if you get access to the inner sanctum – their studio.

But it was the research and study of existing literature about the artist which painted a picture of Frank Hodgkinson, the artist. And lastly, reading his own writings: He was a brilliant writer and deep thinker. He thought and wrote about art, drawing and seeing. There’s a line he wrote about drawing that stuck with me: “You have to draw a line around the think.”

Through the show have you discovered any of Hodgkinson’s works that totally blew you away or surprised you?

It’s difficult to point to a particular work, he was very skilled and the output is broad. Perhaps ‘Artist Camp’ surprised me: I did not expect to discover a figurative portrait. Certainly, not showing Clifton Pugh and Dr Colin Jock-Hinton in the nude painting, mind you.

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What do you think are some of the most valuable experiences in the exhibition – what will viewers take away?

I would encourage viewers to look closely. When we describe him as an abstract artist we don’t do him justice. Many of his works are filled with details, sketches, shadowy figures, plants and animals, skeletons.

Even the most abstract paintings in the exhibition from his ‘Beginnings series’ (which he produced in the 1990s) draw the viewer deep into the cosmos, into the swirling soup of creation, and towards Big Bang’s enormous blast. It’s full on.

Sense of Place includes work from the artists periods in Spain, PNG and Arnhemland. How do you see the work in the exhibition changing through these geographic and cultural influences?

That’s right, and we also present paintings which related to Quinkan Country in Northern Queensland and the Bungle Bungles. What is apparent is a departure from the heavy textures of the Spanish period when Hodgkinson really became an abstract painter and received much acclaim for his work. But upon returning to Australia he took another direction. The ‘heaviness’ and darkness of the early period did not suit the Australian light and landscape. The colours change, and so does the depth of painting.

Hodgkinson’s published diaries are on display in the exhibition. Can you describe the experience of spending time with these intimate records and how they have shaped your understanding of the artist?

As with any diary you read you get to see the world through the eyes of the author. Hodgkinson was very good at illustrating his environments with words, describing plants and animals down to their scientific latin names. He was truly fascinated. And then there are the events and people he encountered during the travels. They are beautiful books.

Do you have a favourite work or series in the exhibition?

I wander through the exhibition every day, never getting tired of looking at the works. I guess what draws my attention really depends on my mood. As much as I am attracted by the darkness of Deya, I love the happy joyfulness of She Sang Him a Crocodile. Polar opposites perhaps, 30 years apart? And a life’s work in-between.

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“Deya”

Frank Hodgkinson: Sense of Place is on at Burrinja Gallery until 5 December.
Cnr Glenfern Rd and Matson Dr, Upwey.
Tues – Sun 10am – 4pm.
Tickets Adult $10, Concession/Seniors $7, Burrinja Members $5

Enter the draw to win a special Arts and Culture Indulgence Package worth of $500 including theatre tickets and dinner for 2 plus a night in the gorgeous Twilight Cottages, when you purchase tickets to the exhibition.

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“She sang him a crocodile” oil on canvas.

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Simon Storey in Burke and Wills Grand Adventure

Burke & Wills come to life

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Local actor Simon Storey and family, Tina, Amelie and Sam have recently returned from a three and a half month trip around Australia. But this wasn’t your typical family treck to see our beautiful country, it was a tour of The Burke and Wills Grand Adventure! Along the way they stopped at different towns on the trail taken by Burke and Wills performing a show which they have written and included the whole family.

Their show about Burke and Wills tells the story from the perspective of John King, the only survivor of the fatal race-to-the-Gulf, portrayed by Simon as a ghost. Amelie, his daughter plays a recalcitrant teenager more interested in playing with her mobile phone than learning about history, who slowly gets drawn into the story. It is an interactive show for ages 7 to 70 and beyond.

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During May, June, July and August they took this production on tour and followed the Burke and Wills route from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria performing at various schools, Civic Halls, sheds and outdoors to launch their company, having started from the Burke and Wills Cairn at Royal Park in Melbourne. It was truly a grand adventure for them and they met many interesting people along the way, among them the child John King fathered with one of the Yandruwandha women he stayed with after Burke and Wills died. “We were fortunate enough to meet one of his living relatives at our Cooper Creek show. It is a fascinating story which not many Australians know about,” said Simon.

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Performing their show at small outback towns is a rare treat for some remote communities who have limited exposure to live performances. The show also concludes with a question and answer session allowing audiences to learn more about this important part of our history. As Leanne Hohnke-Jansen, Principal of Bedourie State School states Bedourie is a small isolated town situated on the edge of the Simpson Desert, so the opportunities for residents to view ‘Live Theatre’ are far and few between. However, this changed when the Storey Players provided us with an amazing performance of their own take on the Burke and Wills expedition – an expedition that passed quite near to our town. The audience ranged in age from six to sixty plus, and everyone was mesmerised by the drama”

Q&A-after-show

The Storey family will be having one public performance locally of their show on Saturday October 14 at Burrinja. 

Some quotes from recent shows:

“The use of lyrical text, humorous exposition, visual set pieces, and poignant sound choice left me engrossed, joyful, dismayed and even a little tearful.” 

“We really appreciate opportunities like this as they are rare to our remote community, and cannot thank you enough for coming to visit, entertain and educate us”.

Where: Burrinja Black Box Theatre.
When: Saturday October 14th 4:30 pm.
Price: $18.00 all tickets – $16.00 groups of 4+
Book your tickets here.

To find out more about the Storey players go to www.thestoreyplayers.com

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Fun at the Lake Park Cottage

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Belgrave Lake Park Cottage Playgroup sits within the site of the old Belgrave Auto Park. In 1946 the reservoir, as it was then, was a place to cool off with a swim on hot summer days. Today it is the home of our community playgroup which has been volunteer led since 1981, when a group of local families restored the old caretaker’s cottage as a place to meet and share their parenting journey. In October the playgroup is hosting a Gallery and Garden Party celebrating more than 30 years that the Cottage has been a volunteer operated playspace for the families of our local community.

Encapsulating History Week and Children’s Week celebrations on 21st October,  the Cottage will be a place to share stories and memories of the role playgroup has played over three generations.

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Shaun King 1981-82 original Playgroup member. Photo by Sharon King.

As part of our day event, we are excited to be opening our new Indigenous Sensory Garden playspace along with our gallery area, which will be a display of historical photos of our local surrounds. We have been proudly funded for our garden and gallery project by Yarra Ranges Council grants for the community. We have planned a day full of fantastic activities as a part of Children’s Week calendar, presented in partnership with the Victorian Government.

The day itself marks the official opening of the Indigenous themed Sensory Garden by Mayor Councillor Cliff and we will be holding a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony conducted by Elders from the Wurundjeri Tribe. We are thrilled to be hosting this ceremony as acknowledgement of respect for the Wurundjeri people as traditional custodians of the land.

Other activities on the day include creating a timecapsule for families to contribute to which will be buried on the day. Hands-on mosaic making will take place in our garden. The garden will include a collection of native animal sculptures and we will be getting families involved in our animal bingo throughout the day. Bring a picnic and enjoy our storytime sessions or roll up your sleeves for some carer-led colouring and craft activities in our messy-space art room.

This Children’s Week event is presented by Belgrave Lake Park Cottage Playgroup in Partnership with the Victorian Government and proudly funded by Yarra Ranges Council.

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When: 21st October, 2017
Where: 29 Park Drive, Belgrave
Enquiries: contact Emma 0434 019 346

www.belgravelakeparkcottage.com.au

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Our schedule for a fun-packed day of activities for all the family

10am freeplay in our Indigenous Sensory garden
10.30 Indigenous themed kid’s storytime
11am Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Wurundjeri Tribe Elders and official opening of our event by Mayor Councillor Noel Cliff
11.30 Mosaic making begins
1pm We invite you to picnic and chat with us
1.30pm Kid’s garden storytime
3pm Timecapsule burial
All day we will have animal bingo in the garden, crafts and colouring activities, viewing of historical photos of the cottage over the years

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We have been approaching local historical societies and libraries for historical photographs of the lake and area surrounding the cottage but we have yet to find any photos of the cottage itself from yesteryear. We would love any locals who may have attended the playgroup in the past to come to our event and share their stories and a picnic with us on the day.

Email any historical photos to us at belgrave.playgroup@gmail.com

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Gimme Life, Gimme Love

Great music, great people, great cause!

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Gimme Life, Gimme Love is a benefit gig raising funds for local Monbulk mum Sherie Lucas who is in urgent need of life-saving brain surgery.

Featuring a bevy of local musicians including:

·  Kristy Lewis (Rockabilbies)
·  The Barebones
·  Warships
·  Victor Cripes
·  Curds and Grain
·  Lost Canoe
·  Matt Walker
·  Agents of Fortune (feat. Dave Larkin from Dallas Crane)

 Happening Sunday October 15 from 1pm until 10pm all proceeds go directly to the Lucas family to help with ongoing medical expenses. Tickets are $15 on the door or pre-book via sookielounge.com.au. This is a family friendly event with kids entry free of charge.

Sherie Lucas has suffered 3 strokes, since January 2016, caused by a rare brain cavernous hermangioma. The strokes have effected many of her physical functions and without further surgery the next stroke could potentially end her life or cause disablement which may see her in a wheel chair for the rest of her life.

However….there is hope! Renowned Australian brain surgeon, Dr Charlie Teo is confident that he can treat Sherie’s condition with a 50% chance of needing rehabilitation. The major catch is that as Dr Teo operates out of the Prince of Whales Private Hospital, Sydney and the cost is high. Sherie’s husband Jules created a gofundme campaign around a month ago to raise the $100k needed and the response has been phenomenal.

We decided to create a family friendly event to help raise money for the cause by getting a bunch of great local Musos together and make a day of it.

If you can’t make it but still want to donate, head to the family’s Go Fund Me page
https://www.gofundme.com/uyscg-save-my-wife

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For more info see:

9 News media: 

9-news

 7 News media: ‘Save my wife’: Dad’s emotional plea after wife has three strokes.

Channel 7

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The Upwey Archies ‘17

Calling all creatives – now is your time to shine – a light on the people and faces of our community.

2016 Upwey Archies Winner Anette Woodward

2016 winner Annette Woodward

Local creatives of all ages and abilities are invited to celebrate the people of Upwey and be part of the 2017 Upwey Archies community portrait project and exhibition.

Inspired by the Archibald Prize and ‘Not The Archies’, The Upwey Archies portraits will be presented in an exhibition across the shops and businesses of Upwey Township between 15 October – 14 November.  Bringing together the creative voices and vision of our community, this project is a celebration of the people of Upwey.

This August the Upwey Township Group, in partnership with Burrinja Cultural Centre are calling for the people of our region to contribute to this project by creating images of the people who are important to them or to Upwey. Artists can register and collect their art boards from Burrinja between 11 – 27 August and get to work in any medium they choose. Artworks then need to be delivered to Burrinja between 29 Sept and 8 Oct.

Last year the Upwey Archies project saw over 50 portraits in variety of media by a diverse range of young, emerging and established local artists exhibited through Upwey township.

Saturday 14 October at 11am the community is invited to congregate at ‘The Pirate Ship’, Upwey Main St to celebrate the official opening of this important community project. We will also announce the winners of the most outstanding portrait and encouragement awards for both the youth and adult categories. Prizes include Burrinja theatre tickets, meal and book vouchers.

2016 Upwey Archies winner Ava Lind

2016 winner Ava Lind

The Upwey Archies is an initiative of The Upwey Township Group, in partnership with Burrinja. The project is sponsored by the Belgrave Book Barn.

Important dates:

  • Register to be part of the project and pick up your art board between Aug 11-27
  • Deliver artwork to Burrinja Sept 29 – Oct 8
  • Launch event & awards Sat Oct 14, 11am at the Upwey Village Green (near the Pirate Ship).
  • Exhibition display in Upwey township Oct 15 – Nov 14
  • Artwork collection from Burrinja Nov 16  – 19

Cost:   Adult $10 (includes board) 14 & Under $5 (includes board)
Burrinja:   Cnr Glenfern Rd & Matson Dr, Upwey
Open: Tues – Sun 10am – 4pm
Contact:   9754 8723
www.burrinja.org.au

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Daniel Rigos painting outside

Dance of the savannah

'Desert converges with the sea' by Daniel Rigos

‘Desert converges with the sea’, oil on canvas by Daniel Rigos.

Daniel Rigos a local artist from Belgrave has been part of Open Studios for many years but this year he was conspicuously absent. Perhaps it’s because he has been busy travelling Australia, painting for an upcoming exhibition in Healesville. A year long journey through the Australian outback is the heart of this exhibition. Daniel’s paintings bring together themes and feelings of the landscape whilst also drifting into the ether and beyond.

Painted outside in the elements, Daniel’s paintings are inspired by the landscape but delve into other mystical worlds, blending with elements of abstraction and the surreal. Some evoke the intensity of the arid dry expanse of Central Australia, while others merge into the depths of the sea, or the majestic splendour of the mountains. Yet nothing is as powerful as the endless wide expanse of the savannah. Daniel explains “when one is confronted by its immensity, with its perfectly flat horizon, one feels truly alone. Yet somehow in this infinite space one also feels truly connected.”

Daniel Rigos painting outsideDaniel Rigos van on his Australian travels

The journey itself has impacted Daniel’s works and this narrative has changed and shaped his paintings. Daniel is usually a studio based artist working in the comforts of the studio. This year he had to contend with the elements, from the 40 degree heat of the desert rapidly drying the oil paint, to the monsoon showers of Queensland. “Some paintings were started in one location then finished in a completely different landscape,” says Daniel. “Just as the body and the mind are effected by the sudden changes of travel, so are the paintings. Landscapes morph into each other. Scale becomes irrelevant. One world shifts into another.”

Daniel lives in Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges and has been exhibiting for over 14 years. This is his first solo exhibition. He has been part of the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios weekend for many years showing his work alongside his wood artist father Yanni Rigos at Wood Alchemy gallery in Kallista.

For the travels around Australia Daniel and his wife Shakti hand-outfitted a campervan with the help of his father. They incorporated unique and rare Australian woods with antique Chinese screens to create a truly one-of-a-kind campervan.

Daniel Rigos Van interiorDaniel Rigos Van

‘Dance of the Savannah’ exhibition by Daniel Rigos
Where: The Memo, Healseville
When: Friday June 9th – Sunday July 16th
www.danielrigos.com

Polar Convergence, oil on canvas by Daniel Rigos.

‘Polar Convergence,’ (oil on canvas) by Daniel Rigos.

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burrinja makes the top ten

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Post by Adriana Alvarez.

It looks like the secret is out. Burrinja is one of the top ten places to visit in Melbourne according to UK Guardian. The post by their Australian reporter mentions it in regard to getting in touch with “traditional owners” making reference to Lin Onus’ Fish and Leaves artwork as one of it’s highlights as well as exhibitions, music and theatre.

Burrinja Cultural Centre

And indeed Burrinja is a great place to see indigenous art as it manages a rare public collection of over 600 items of Aboriginal and oceanic art from Papua New Guinea. The collection was donated to the Shire of Yarra Ranges in 2001 by Neil McLeod, a local resident and renowned photographer, book author and field collector.

But this is not the only thing on offer at Burrinja.With multiple gallery spaces for touring exhibitions, a large 400 seat theatre for live productions and artist studios and workshop rooms, it’s a hub for creative locals who can find great inspiration within it’s walls. With workshops and activities for people of all ages and abilities Burrinja encourages community engagement and inclusion. It’s support of local artists, projects (like the hillscene magazine and hillseneLIVE), festivals and events fosters a vibrant creative community, living up to it’s mission of “creating community through the Arts”.

Burrinja GalleryBurrinja theatre

A visit to Burrinja isn’t complete without wandering through the Art of Place Indigenous Cultural Garden, a place to reflect, learn about and celebrate the local indigenous culture. Take in one of it’s many exhibitions, grab a gift in the gallery shop, see a show or enjoy a great coffee and meal at the Skylark Room which features brilliant music in the evenings and weekends.

Skylark Room food

So it looks like is right in naming Burrinja, one of the top ten treasures in the ‘world’s most livable city’. And we’re lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

Find out more and see what’s on at Burrinja here.

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