About a month ago, I had the privilege of joining Solid Screen Festival at the invitation of arts curator and media artist Jenny Fraser. I have featured Jenny on this blog a while ago and since then she has been spending her time promoting films made by indigenous women across the world through Solid Screen Festival; running for the third time this year. In September Gold Coast and Numinbah Valley (QLD) retreat where the 2016 films were screened, women directors including Jules Koostachin (PLACEnta) from Canada showed their films and shared their stories.
Placenta is a short documentary about Koostachin’s life in contemporary Canada where a woman gives birth away from her people and customs. Much is lost in terms of her tribal rituals, with journeys her own mother and grandmother took, but the woman feels that it is really important to follow the traditional rituals embedded in her. However, in contemporary Canada, she finds that what she wishes for the most is not as easy as she thought.
Placenta is one of many stories told by indigenous filmmakers about connecting to their indigenous roots and intangible cultures. Having an opportunity like Solid Screening helps bring these stories out. Recently, the work of Solid Screening was acknowledged by Barbara Ann O’Leary, Directed by Women. In an interview with Jenny Fraser, O’ Leary explores the work Fraser does in promoting and helping indigenous women filmmakers.
“We aim to deliver Indigenous specific screen components to allow opportunities for Indigenous screen artists and artsworkers to develop professionally, develop greater understanding of new media and inter-disciplinary practices, and gain critical feedback on personal projects”.
Read more on the interview here. Directed By Women
Wisteria: A Flower of Meaning and Beauty
Above is my first bloom from one of five wisteria flowers I have in my garden. I did not plant these vines from the pea family, a soil improving legume, but discovered them three springs ago. The plants must have preserved their roots despite harsh weather and no care – before we took on this property five years ago. Wisterias are delicate and beautiful tropical flowers. They are grown in USA and Asia, particularly China and Japan, and Australia. The wisteria flowers come in different colours and hang down like grapevines. The flowers have meanings associated with good luck and new beginnings; and often grown in pathways and entrances to bring these meanings to (hopefully) fruition.
I was going to list the meanings, but I found good information with some meanings on this beautiful blog: Flower Meaning.
These green seeds above are not from wisteria flowers, but wild tobacco tree. This wisteria finds support by climbing on the wild tobacco. The flowers of the wild tobacco surprisingly almost copy the same colours of the wisteria.
So, since this spring is bringing me full blooms of wisteria, I would like to share with all my readers the amount of good luck and happiness that I have in my garden. Thank you!
Brisbane Open House is a free public festival that celebrates Brisbane’s architecture and offers behind-the-scenes access to 100 buildings across the city. The Brisbane Open House began on Saturday and ended today (September 8 and 9).
Unknowing that preparations were happening all around me last Thursday, I had ventured into the city to check our visas at the Australian Immigration Office. I almost tripped over an orange traffic cone and realised it wasn’t the usual construction barricade on the footpath, but someone was actually sitting and painting.
I sat with her briefly and watched her paint before Debra Hood became aware of my presence. Debra, a talented Brisbane artist is one of many people who took part in the Open House programme. Her role was to paint these colourful Queenslanders on this power box (pictured above), a task she had accomplished many times under the Traffic Signal Boxes for Urban Smart Projects and Brisbane City. The project helps the council to protect the power boxes from graffiti.
Debra specialised in these very colourful traditional Queensland homes and enjoys it a lot. She seemed quite comfortable sitting and painting on side of the bustling Adelaide Street. If you like her work, please visit her website: debrahoodart to see more of her beautiful Queenslander art.
Far from what I remember as a child, when I was growing up and singing in church, these magnificent structures are some of the most modern churches we have today. Nothing like the old buildings and sago roof churches I’m used to. I do love the old churches, but more and more, modern churches, chapels, mosques, cathedrals, and temples are popping up to keep up with this modern times.
I guess we could say, it can be cool to have devotion in style or devotion can be made cool as I add these churches to my Cool Stuff list. In our own beliefs, worship and devotion goes further and beyond fancy architectural structures, but each of these churches are a very beautiful work of art. Personally, I think it would be wonderful to have a peaceful moment in one of them. What do you think?
Visit more churches and details at Design Milk.
The Furry Squatter Settlers – Short Story
Our house roof broke under heavy rain and the wild Queensland storms sometime last year. Separating the entrance hall with front door, the storm created an unexpected alfresco space. I rejoiced in the fact that, the roof was now broken, so it removed the fear and threat of when it would actually fall. It happened when my sons were away. I heard a crack and ran out and held up the beam as long as I could, and finally, when it settled, I inserted two timber pieces to keep the roof steady until my sons returned from their holidays. It took three men to bring it down and let it break apart.
We cleared the entrance, and waited to repair. And, before we started repairing the broken roof, some furry squatters moved in. They used the leaning trees against the house to make their entry. It was quite a natural invasion of these parts of Queensland. One small possum settled into the car port ceiling; separated now by the broken roof. Another took the main house.
Above the kitchen, noises started. Sometimes light bulbs would flicker and weaken from bright to pale orange – just like a ghost movie, bringing family dinner to a pause – perhaps someone from outer space or inner ceiling is speaking to us, we joke.
In the evening, long hours into the night, our family would hear knocking, walking and thundering repetitive noises in the ceiling. My guess initially was, the possums were cracking the macadamia nuts they picked from our tree. With my Callaway Steelhead Systems III driver I had not used on a golf fairway in a long while, I would thump the ceiling in response to the settlers’ sounds. The sounds would immediately pause or move, given it is a large house with an extensive ‘living area’ for the possums. Sometimes there would be fights, a lot of screeching and grunting. It often reminded me of the fights in the streets of Port Moresby or neighbours in a drunk brawl. If the furry fighters didn’t listen and stop to the golf club’s thudding, I cursed them and told them they were staying rent-free, with free meals and should keep the noise down. And if they did not appreciate their high-class living, I would need to call the possum remover to evict them.
Eventually, they would stop pounding and exit. It was through one of the broken parts of the roof that the possums used where we suspected the snake entered and took Boz’s life.
One day, about three weeks ago, a squatter settler came out of one of the broken part of the roof. It was in the middle of the day and the animal urinated and excreted above the back door entrance, sending a collection of light brown pellets sprinkling down the door frame. It was the first time we saw her with a baby in her pouch. It was not the time to wander about or visit. Possums only came out in the dark. She was fed some carrots and green apples. Obviously, she did not have too many ‘hospital visits’ or someone to care for her and bring her macadamia nuts while she was caring for her baby.
The possum could not care less what time of the day, nor where she left her waste. She was starving.
It has been a few weeks of spring and summer will make the roof too hot to live under. Iron roof bakes like an oven when you are one foot under it. It would be a good time to close the hole, repair the house, evacuate the squatter settlers and get rid of the noises. (I am hoping…)
A Bouquet In Spring – Flowers and Photography
I don’t usually plant these dainty little pansies (above) and petunias (second one below). It was my mother’s idea while she has been here in Brisbane. The flower below is an air plant, from the orchid family which I plant and this spring, I have had a large collection of flowers.
When I see the other colours that my mother brought to my somewhat ‘tough’ garden of succulents, bromeliads and other arid plants, it makes me smile. The colours make the gardens look like beautiful paintings. Their dainty little petals look like delicate bouquets that add a fresh softness to the garden.
“Being a storyteller is intrinsically tied to leadership,” says Canadian poet of honour d’bi.young anitafrika. When we tell stories, we invite people to ask questions, and that’s how work evolves.
The Natives of Numinbah Valley
This delightful pair was the star guests at a small bush cafe in Numinbah Valley, Queensland. Not often do you meet ‘wild’ natives that are so friendly and ready for a photo. We would have never met these natives if we did not have a stopover. The stopover at the cafe happened after a mystery visit to one of Australia’s world heritage sites last weekend. (We were suppose to go to another site, but we could not swim there). It was a wonderful surprise and I will write a separate story on that site.
This whole trip was part of a retreat for Solid Screen Sisters – a gathering for indigenous women storytellers and film-makers. (More on this blog about Solid later)
I often get king parrots such as these on the trees in Bellbowrie, but they never come up this close. In the picture below, a Rosella (blue and red feathers) tries to land in front of the king parrot.
The green and red Australian King Parrot prefers to fly and live lower in the trees. Only the male Australian breed has a completely red-head. The birds live in pairs.