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”

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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”.

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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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Belgrave Survival Day – Celebrating 10 years

smoking-ceremonySmoking ceremony photo by D.Clarke.

On Thursday the 26th January, 2017, Belgrave Survival Day will celebrate its 10th consecutive year. Once again celebrating Indigenous culture and the survival of Australia’s First Nations people through 228 years of white settlement. This year’s festival will focus on the theme of ‘Knowing your local history, and as always is a free family friendly event.

This year the theme focuses on understanding your local history. If there is one action a person can do to show solidarity and start to bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people it is to get to know your local history. This year award winning author Bruce Pascoe will be a special guest speaker sharing stories from our local history. Author and historian Jim Poulter will also have a stall with books outlining Victoria’s indigenous history.

The Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony will be led by Wurundjeri elder and educator, Uncle Bill Nicholson, followed by traditional dances performed by ‘The Djirri Djirri’ dance mob where the audience will be invited to join in. Aunty Dot Peters will also grace us with her presence and share some of her wisdom.

Djirri Djirri Dance Group courtesy of their facebook pageThe Djirri Djirri dance mob.

The line up includes Benny Walker, who will be on the stage again as the lead act with his band. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for the land, the people. His summer vibes and deep grooves are elements that reach the soul.

Benny Walker and BandBenny and the band.

The day will also welcome back The Deans, who will bring classic sounds and grooves with velvet smooth vocals, sweet harmonies, soaring heartbreak guitar, deep Mo-town bass grooves and hip-shaking rhythms. They are sure to get you moving.

Benny and The Deans will be supported by Gunditjmara singer songwriter Jayden Lillyst. Jayden tells stories of his people through a dose of country rock mixed with soul and blues.

The fabulous voices of the Mullum Mullum Choir and the vibes of the Hip Hop Crew will also feature. Then be calmed as you participate in a Digeridoo Mediation with Gnarnayarrahe Waitiarie (Uncle Joey).

There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy with fun music and dance, art and craft opportunities, the children’s playground and more.

Soak up the atmosphere on a picnic rug in front of the stage or stroll around the market and information stalls. Catering for all food requirements with a variety of food trucks including traditional bush tucker. This event is alcohol-free.

Due to parking limitations around the park the Survival Day organisers strongly encourage people to catch public transport, carpool or park at Belgrave Train Station where you can get the shuttle bus provided, or take a quick 5 minute walk to Borthwick Park.

The event will be simulcasts on 3MDR 97.1 FM.

To find out more go to Belgrave Survival Day facebook or events page

When: 26th January 2017
Time: 12 noon – 4.30pm
Where: Borthwick Park (next to Belgrave Pool) Benson St, Belgrave.
Melways reference 75/F11

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The Belgrave Survival Day event is organised by a committee of volunteers. They invite new volunteers to help with preparations for the festival, to assist on the day, or join the committee to keep the event happening in the future.

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A brief History of time with cake by Cameron Semmens.

Space… the poetic frontier

A brief History of time with cake by Cameron Semmens.

Post by Adriana Alvarez

Malcolm de Chazal said “Space is the widest open of all mouths.”
“Then let’s shove some cake in it!” says Cameron Semmens.

Cameron Semmens, our resident poet who gave us the chance to write our own poems a few issues back, has got a new book out. It’s poetical, gastronomical and astronomical! It’s a space-themed collection of new poems and classic cake recipes. “I hope you will experience it as a marvel of entertaining tastiness for mind and mouth!” says Cameron.

If you like baking cakes, or space, or poetry – or perhaps all three, then this book could be for you!

“A Brief History of Time with Cake”
– Poems about Space (inner and outer)

  – Recipes for Cake (yummy and scrummy)

Includes recipes like for you to bake at home:
– The Zero Gravi-teacake
– The Baked Moon Cheesecake
– The Anti-gravitational Mousse
– or even, a Pavnova!

Or  you could simply feast upon the poems, including:
– The Asteroid Theory for The Extinction of Despair
– Poem 9 from Outer Space
– and The 23rd Jedi.

Cameron will be launching his book at Grunge Café, Belgrave.
“Cake Expectations, a poetry night” is on Monday December 12th at 7pm. Free entry. 

On the night you can sign up to the open mic – preferably with a poem on the theme of space, or cake. You can perform your own or read a classic. If you’ve heard Cameron at hillsceneLIVE you’ll know that it’s a great experience. Cameron’s performance is fun and entertaining and his quirky poems are amusing and delicious. Come along and listen, laugh… and, if you’re brave enough, even share your own poem on space, or cake!

The usual great quality Grunge cake and coffee will also be available for sale and you’ll be able to buy “A Brief History of Time with Cake” at the special launch price of $15.

Cameron Semmens performing

If you want to get a copy but can’t make it to the launch you can order it online at www.webcameron.com or you could pick up a copy at The Belgrave Book Barn or Grunge Café.

Cake Expectations “A Brief History of Time with Cake” book launch
Monday December 12 at 7.00pm
Grunge Cafe – 1696 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave

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The Arties exhibition at Burrinja

A New World; Created Through Art

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Post by Makayla Rimington

Burrinja’s Mission Statement endeavours to ‘build community through arts’ and a shining example of this is the Burrinja ‘Arties’. The Arties is a Burrinja Planned Activity Group who, in 2016, celebrate a decade of weekly meetings. The program involves adults of all abilities, from many different circumstances, joining together to create individual, expressive art.

Edges & Echoes is the chosen title for this year’s upcoming celebration. This involves gaining inspiration from subtle realms of both the imagination and reality. An opening song, followed by performances and exhibitions are planned for this significant occasion. Lynette and the volunteers have worked with The Arties for many weeks in preparation, including a dress rehearsal to practice the meaningful opening number.

Managed and funded by Burrinja and The Department of Health and Human Services, The Arties gives people that may feel outcast from the public a chance to fit in, to be accepted by a group of like-minded people in a community and arts focused facility while creating and performing. An extremely positive outcome from this Burrinja Arties program is mental wellbeing; giving people aged 20 to 70 a chance to use their individual abilities to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.

It is an arts-based skills and learning program that emphasises cultural participation while enriching understandings of culture and community. The program also teaches socialisation skills and many art techniques.

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Lynette Forrest, an experienced Creative Arts Therapist, facilitated and designed the program that assists members of the community who are affected by mental illness and expands social support for those who are ‘at risk of homelessness’. Many of the people involved have had experience with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but having the involvement of working with other Arties gives a sense of achievement, peace and connection. Arties ‘challenges the participants to take positive risks by trying new activities, learning with artist mentors, exhibiting, performing and more’.

Lynette believes in the healing power of art, it moves beyond language and understanding, becoming instead about the physical and the pleasure of ‘doing’. ‘Anyone can do it, they can’t fail, they trust me to help them create and learn’ says Lynette.

Being treated as welcomed and individual members of the public is integral to supporting and encouraging the Arties participants to create art that tells their story.

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Each week the partakers create art-work that they have a chance to exhibit and sell once a year at the annual Arties Event. This involves painting, photography and construction all the way through to dance, music, drama and narrative.

‘The Arties get so much out of special programs like this, it is wonderful to experience’ – Dr. Ross Farnell, Executive Director, Burrinja.

‘If only everyday could be Friday’ was remarked to Lynette recently, each meeting is looked forward to by the artists, and the yearly exhibition gives the participants and their works prominence and appreciation from the community.

Lynette has found a link between art, music and mental wellbeing, she observes a positive transformation in her participants; ‘when they return next time, with a little spark, I can see that it has been a lasting change’.

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Lynette puts these amazing outcomes down to music and the arts changing and improving a participant’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

The latest event fell on November 4th and the Arties’ had planned an opening song with the help of Nicole from Harmonious Melodies. ‘Edges & Echoes’ is an exploration of the thresholds of imagination, space and time. The theme centres around making meaning out of reality and dreams, and the pieces created are an echo of each member’s world. The song, with the assistance of Nicole, has been written by the group, with the chorus ‘chase those bad dreams away’ coined by a participant. The song takes the members to the edge of their imagination, meeting both good and bad aspects.

The Arties exhibition

Celebrating 10 years of The Arties at Burrinja is an incredible achievement and shows the passion and determination of its facilitator, Lynette Forrest. ‘It’s amazing, my favourite job. I wish I could do it every day’. Lynette creates a happy place, an environment where the members can understand themselves and learn creative techniques to express their individuality. This year’s milestone gives recognition to the great work of Lynette, the volunteers and of course, The Arties.

arties-collage

The Arties exhibition launch on November 4th.

The Exhibition runs from the 27th October to the 27th November at Burrinja.
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey.

Burrinja logo