Tag Archives: artist

Living My Mother’s Dream – Beauty Within (PNG) Art Exhibition


Beauty Within PNG Art Exhibition

“Anticipation” – watercolour JKLeahy Art©

On November 14th, 2017, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), I will show 50 pieces of my watercolours, mixed media and art studies, making this show the first fine art solo exhibition for any Papua New Guinea female artist.

On this final project for the year 2017, I will live my mother, Freda Kauc’s dream. Her dream was that I become an artist full-time. She said I had worked enough (over twenty years as a volunteer) in the capacity of an arts curator for other PNG and Pacific artists. My mother also said, I had the right to practice and show my own art. She also said the general work-place environment for any work was becoming harsh and toxic and she couldn’t see me there for long.  I hate to admit it, but she was right.

“Ting ting” – (“Thinking”) – Mixed media on paper. JKLeahy Art©

My mother had believed art making was my true calling and persisted for over 20 years. Art is part of my life, beginning with my early years with my mother, her extended family, and the people from Wagang Village. I had taken part in several different art practices, including, but not restricted to contemporary and cultural performance arts, music, photography, writing, installation art, crafts and now painting. It was never as a “job”, or something I could make money from. Art making for me until now was purely for joy. One cousin asked once, “why are you wasting your time (on art)?’ How could I have answered that in one sentence, so I said, “you wouldn’t understand cous.”

I remember what I wanted to be when I grew up and that was to be a dancer. I danced with my people in our cultural performances and later with other groups from PNG and into the PNG National Theatre company. But, I ended up being a journalist and then a curator. I was scheming on the edges of art making, but I continued to pencil sketch and show my mother. This annoyed her. When I was pregnant with my first son, in 1994, I needed to get out of corporate and relax so I took acrylic lessons every Saturday and really loved it, but drawing was my number one love. We moved to Australia in 2004, and my mother visited in 2006. I started a drawing class, but one student said, “you should teach” so I dropped out and took watercolour class with our community education. I showed my mother the washes. I painted a PNG portrait in watercolour my mother and I named “Agnes” because she reminded us of an Agnes. I sold this picture in an exhibition. My mother told me to make more to sell, but I wouldn’t. I was not confident.

Mama came back to Brisbane in 2008, 2010 and 2011 where she made me put some work in other exhibitions. I sold them. Once one of my work ended in an auction and I got more money for it then I thought.

“I told you so,” my mother said. I argued it wasn’t enough to pay of the mortgage.

In 2016, she came to Brisbane again for a visit and I extended her visa to 12 months. I told her I needed to finish my memoir, and she said I needed to paint. She had a good amount of time on her hands to make me make art while we told stories and i sent away job applications.

January 2017,  after losing my last pathetic job in administration with an Aged Care organisation, I began my mother’s dream and my new journey with fear and hesitation. I’m still looking for work. I am unemployed and the art takes my mind away to good places. The art making also made the fear go away eventually. The unknown combined with fear of failure gnaws at me but I continue to paint. My mother sat up late into the mornings, knitting her bags while I was painting and washing studies of various subjects as we spoke about the memoir. I posted a few of those washes here, on this blog.

Mama Graun. Watercolour. JKLeahy Art©

The longer, I could not get employment, the more my mother relished at the opportunity for me to practice my art. By February 2017, I landed an art commission work with a large business. I had donated one of my painting image to a petroleum conference and later a cousin showed the work to her bosses.  When I was engaged, the client asked me to paint a watercolour four times larger than what I usually painted. And just like my mother would have said, when I told the client, “I have never made art that big”, my client replied: “Why not?”

The same client went on to say: “You were meant for this work (painting)”.

I suddenly realised, I was stopping myself; both the client and my mother were right. I had built a skill for twenty years or more, and not used it to its full potential. I believed ‘work” was in an office.

I began working out ways to paint my client’s order and even had to contact Arches in France to get watercolour paper cut large enough to paint on; regular store sizing was too small. Arches referred me to a supplier Parkers, in Sydney. And my son cut a board large enough of the paper. This didn’t fit the dining table, but I could stick it under the trees and paint during the day. It was good to paint in nature and the drying was quick between washes.

Six large paintings were done to my own disbelief and off it went to Singapore. The client loved it. From then on, I could not hear the end of my mother’s reminders, and her “I told you so’s”.

And soon after the Singapore job, I was invited to show my work at Redlands Performance Arts in the Wantok Melanesia Showcase and now the solo exhibition in PNG.

Thank you to this amazing woman, Freda Kauc for making her dream my reality. I’m loving it so much. Thank you Mama. The details of my solo exhibition is on the poster. Part of my sales will be donated to two children’s charity organisation in PNG. I will launch my limited edition art prints on a separate website in December. I would like to sincerely thank my sponsors for the First Female PNG Solo Art Exhibition: Royal Papua Yacht Club, Moore Printing, Frameshop, Whittaker, Kalem, Air Niugini, Rocky Roe Photographics, Daisy Taylor, and all friends and family members that have assisted me.

(Ps – I will be away from the blog for two weeks from next week).

Media coverage so far:

Loop-PNG

LinkedIn

 

 

 

Leaves – Watercolour


J.K.Leahy Watercolour 2017.

I’ve been working with the basics of watercolour again and seeing more colour than dirty water on paper. The “Leaves” study is an example of clean colour.

Rescuing good habits is a result of teaching art again and as my friend Terence said, it is good because teaching is learning.  I am teaching my students and learning again, all the good habits I had forgotten.

Above is a render of leaves from my garden. Some of you may know the blood-red foliage of Euphorbia cotinifolia (Caribbean Copper Plant, or Red Spurge) which I often photograph and post here. The sap is poisonous, but this hardy small tree is a favourite because of its gorgeous foliage. I caught on camera a few coloured leaves at the end of autumn when the leaves went from green to golds and orange before they all fell. Above is a negative painting (homework) for my students who are learning different watercolour techniques. If you are in Brisbane and want to join my classes, please email me for details on joycelinleahy@gmail.com. I hope you like this study of the leaves.

 

Made of the Printed Words – Cool Stuff


home-4.jpg2

A book igloo  by Colombian artist Miler Lago was constructed cleverly with their titles/spines face inside. The entire art is created by material of the printed words.

14095591647041-book-igloo-miler-lagos-4

Miler was born in 1973 and lives and works in Bogota, Colombia. He is known for his other famous work, Fragments of Time – an attempt on the artist’s part to slow things down, but the form of the work itself goes further still: these are branch-like forms composed entirely of sheets of newspaper and books, densely stacked together and sanded at the edges, which generates both a mottled, trunk-like surface and a wood effect colour, (see pictures below).

MilerLagos_ex

 

 

PNG Literary Competition Achieves Record Entries.


The Papua New Guinea Literary Competition The Crocodile Prize received the highest number of entries ever, this year.  On closing last night the Crocodile Prize fetched a total 826 entries from 132 writers & illustrators.

Poetry 355; Essay 196; Story 129; Children 52; Heritage 48; Illustration 21; Tourism Arts Culture 15; Book of the Year 10.

These numbers may not sound very much for writers in other countries, but for any Papua New Guinean writer, it is a very heart-warming news, especially coming from a literary culture that almost became extinct. In the early 70s, leading up to the country’s independence, passion for art, culture and heritage including the literary pursuits and publishing of works written by PNG writers were at their peak. It is not quite clear why the interests have fallen so much after independence. That culture may have been used because we were proud of our identity and we wanted independence so much or perhaps the general growth of consumerism and the wider issues of social, economic and political changes have contributed to this new – lack of passion of culture. I remember growing up with radio stories written by PNG writers, attending and being part of stage plays – written by PNG writers. Poetry, stories, essays as well as other forms of literary work were promoted and supported by the national government.

The lack of passion in the arts and the literary support to me is quite surprising and sad; our culture is based on oral history and story-telling.

As a PNG writer, a practicing artist and an arts curator, it seems very clear to me, that the PNG government’s priority is elsewhere and not the least in the arts. But to not even support the literary aspect and especially in developing educational content that is relevant to our children and educational for our people is wrong. We cannot just tell stories and pass them on – now we can write them down and keep for many years.

It is not how much minerals we export and logs we sell, but the natural beauty, our rich art, culture, languages and stories that set PNG apart, and gives us our unique identity.  The literary scene dwindled to almost non-existent, although that could have been easily combined with and taught through the education system. There are not many avenues and support nor funding where PNG writers could train or share their work, and even to sell. Most workshops, training and activities relating to creative writing or any literary work have been Aid funded or Privately sponsored in the past four decades. Now this is how things have started to change for the PNG literary scene.

THE CROCODILE PRIZE STORY
The Crocodile Prize was established in 2010 by Phil Fitzpatrick and Keith Jackson, (both Australians) worked for many years in Papua New Guinea; Fitzpatrick as a patrol officer, Jackson as a broadcaster and journalist.

The Prize evolved from the popular PNG Attitude blog, which has a policy of encouraging and publishing Papua New Guinean contributors.

The concept of a national literary competition was triggered by Fitzpatrick’s concern that creative writing in Papua New Guinea had fallen upon hard times, and that this was a cultural constraint needing to be addressed.

The first awards were presented in 2011, a year of determining whether or not a project of this kind could be managed successfully given geographical, financial and the constraints of a voluntary organisation.

Using PNG Attitude as a vehicle for publicity and initial publication, Fitzpatrick and Jackson soon discovered an enthusiastic and rapidly emerging body of Papua New Guinean writers.

They were assisted greatly in the early stages by material and financial support provided by the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby and later by a range of sponsors, most of them PNG-based.

This backing made it possible for a range of associated activities to be instituted in addition to the Prize, including an awards ceremony, the publication of an annual anthology and the initiation of writers’ forums.

After the first awards in September 2011, it was agreed the Prize should become a permanent part of the literary landscape of PNG. Now under the management of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, 2015 will mark its fifth year of operations.

PHIL FITZPATRICK on 2015 Competition

Thus ends another year of the Crocodile Prize literary contest.

IT’S not every day that you get to influence the revival of literature in a whole country, unintentionally or otherwise.

I must admit to some surprise that it has happened at all. What started as a humble writing competition seems to have bloomed beyond all expectations.

There is a sense of pride in what has happened but, strangely, it’s not personal. Rather it is a sense of pride in the achievements of the writers involved.

At a personal level it has been more of a humbling experience. There is also a sense of awe and enrichment.

The enrichment comes from reading the works submitted to the competition and the sheer learning experience involved.

I think, despite nearly fifty years travelling back and forth to the country, I’ve really only learned to understand Papua New Guinea in the last few years of the Crocodile Prize.

There is also a tinge of anger involved, mostly through the fact that an uninterested government and lackadaisical education system could let such a promising and rich cultural emergence in the 1970s wilt on the vine and become moribund.

That aside, one of the ironies I really enjoy is the fact that the revival has only now been possible because of the advent of digital technologies that were supposed to see the demise and eventual extinction of books. Such are the shaky prognostications of the doomsayers.

The key factors in the Papua New Guinean revival have been the Internet and the availability of digital publishing and print-on-demand technologies.

These have underpinned the Crocodile Prize, firstly by providing a writers’ outlet in the form of PNG Attitude and secondly in offering a cheap way to publish the best in an annual anthology and then to go even further in publishing stand-alone individual books by Papua New Guineans.

The future of literature in Papua New Guinea is starting to look rosy but we need to remind ourselves that it is still extremely fragile.

The disastrous complacency of the 2013 competition organisers reminds us of what could still happen.

2014-15 has been a watershed year and there’s light at the end of the tunnel but sustainability is still a long way off and we aren’t there yet by any stretch of the imagination.

The winners of this year’s Crocodile Prize will be announced early September. The awards event will be held in Kundiawa on Saturday 19 September

Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG Attitude

Re-cycling Toys – Cool Stuff


Giving old and broken toys a new life in art and colours.

toy-car-art-2
Car Atlas – above and below, created by David T. Waller.

toy-car-art-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This installation – our cool stuff for this week was created by David T. Waller using 2,500 Matchbox cars on a room floor. It goes to show that not all broken and used toys end up in landfills and rubbish dumps. 4994536714_876bd93d5e_z The UK-based artist arranged the toy cars in a giant circular rainbow pattern to create the Car Atlas installation. David’s work was displayed at Artsdepot’s Apthorp Gallery where visitors voted it their favorite art piece. If you visit David’s website, you would be surprised by the contrast between this artwork and his typical creation. Go to David’s gallery by clicking here – David T. Waller

 

Johnny Colours Miami Streets – Cool Stuff


streetartrobles03    streetartrobles02

Johnny Robles an artist, creates cool street art in the streets of Miami. With a mixture of cartoon and pop style drawings and graffiti techniques, he gives color to the streets. Residents say they love it..and so do I.

Featured here at work where some of his cool stuff happens.

streetartrobles04     streetartrobles05

Read more: 

“Never judge a book by its movie” – The Mystery


books

How many times have we heard this comment and seen the quote on the web? We also hear friends or family members complain that ‘the movie was not as good as the book’?  How wonderful is it to have so much more in a book?… and I am talking about a good book.

Have you ever wondered who J.W. Eagan is? He or she is supposed to be the author of the quote.

“Never judge the book by its movie” is one of the most popular book quotes on the web – but do you know its author?

She or he must be a writer. Or maybe a literary critic. A screenwriter? Hollywood-based reporter? A charismatic lecturer or passionate librarian?

The web including Google and Wikipedia, do not know this clever person. You won’t find J.W. Eagan bio on the internet.

It’s interesting that one of the most quoted persons of the Internet is so astonishingly anonymous. The quote has been shared hundreds of thousands of times each day in social media. It’s being reused on posters, t-shirts, mugs, and endless number of quote pictures.

Read more of this interesting story here.

Liklik Meri – Little Girl


20150509_121158
“Liklik Meri”. Watercolour and inks by JLeahy © Prints will be available for sale.

I have been writing less to allow my right arm and shoulder to heal. It seems to have taken forever.

With making artwork, I use different muscles and the work takes my mind of pain. I returned to some of my old paintings. These were mostly unfinished artwork, to see if I can finish some. Here is one of my work from 2014, “Liklik Meri” which means little girl in Papua New Guinea (PNG) pidgin. She is from the highlands. I enjoy painting our highlanders because they have gorgeous and colourful dresses. Often these traditional dresses are completed with absolutely stunning headdresses. (See my earlier post on head piece).

I should have taken a ‘before’ picture, but I didn’t. I began painting her six months ago with watercolours. I tried to keep the same medium but after working on the young lady for a few months now, I decided to use inks, mostly black ink pens for the outlines. I hope you like the end result.

New Artwork – Swimming Together


PaperArtist_2015-04-29_17-36-01
Swimming Together series – JLeahy©

Pencil and Ink drawing by JLeahy ©

I joined the zazzle.com through a blogger friend Tibaraphoto and tried to set up a website to sell my art. I am not a technology-clued person, and while I love the convenience of it, technology often drives me crazy. In Papua New Guinea pidgin we say, mi foul ya! which means, I am fouled. I am also not good with reading ten million instructions in several layers. I like instructions to be simple.

Anyway, you may have seen a link on my blog : Tribalmysticart on the left side bar and tried to click it several times, and it did not take you anywhere. That’s because it is only a counter for visitors. I have NOT uploaded any art nor given you a link yet. On Zazzle, I got confused about how to upload, then the commissions and so on. I am almost ready to build that store.

PaperArtist_2015-04-29_17-32-16
Swimming Together series – JLeahy©

Tribalmysticart counter recorded 6,700 plus clicks. To those people who clicked, I apologise. My art will come soon. Please be patient.  I am sharing some of the new artwork that will go on Zazzle. Please wish me luck and stay tune. If you are interested in any of these work, let me know.

PaperArtist_2015-04-29_17-26-53
Swimming Together series – JLeahy©