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”

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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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