Currently in transit between China and Tasmania, taking some time out in Sydney where I am catching up with family and friends and buying a vehicle for the drive south.
It feels really good to be back, after three and a half years and 11 since living permanently in Australia. I haven't yet made it into the city, that treat awaits the weekend, so any judgement is based purely on what I unfairly refer to as the Western wastelands, the working class suburbs. After living in developed China with its overwhelmingly dominant Han culture, the great and wonderful
diversity is what really hits you here. Muslim women swaying through shopping centres in brilliant colours, teenagers with attitudes and backward caps, from mediterranean and oceanic backgrounds, tall skinny jet black African migrant kids bouncing basketballs across pedestrian crossings.
Being able to understand almost everything that is uttered is also refreshing, the tones of different accents and oooh that broad nasal strine, while harsh, is also reassuring. Out west I have to resist the temptation to mimic, and receive a hushing shoosh from my partner. I also need to broaden my lexicon among my own extended family. While adapting to the Australian term of common endearing address many years ago: the extended “ma-ate”, it seems I now have many “bros”, a term that is a bit unfamiliar for some one who only has sisters, and has the piss taken out of him in these parts for calling a car a motor.
So far so good.
The suburbs aren't my favoured environment, but they have afforded me time to develop and finesse a writing project I've been playing around with in China.
This project is the result of three quite different ceramic art works, coming into my scope and a consideration of what makes good writing about art. I've recently become a little dissatisfied with the mostly neutral stand offish tone of my own writing on ceramic art and have tried to put more of my own experience of the art into my practice. This has, perhaps obviously, led to a poetic turn as part of the process.
Three particular works have inspired a personal expression, invoking three different emotional responses, common to the poet. The first is a love poem, dedicated to the women I have danced, skipped and stumbled through most of my life with. The art work is a hyperreal figure, that the subject of this poem at first thought to be a posed photographic work. In including this work as a backdrop for my text, I have manipulated the image, in an attempt to capture the fading nature of memory, the blurring edges of the idyllic image that lingers.