At the NSW Art Gallery

4 Mar

Our Spirits Lie In the Water

This place, the creek, and water, we love this country, we Aboriginal people. We love it. The old people were the same, attached to this land. The old people, our grandfathers and grandmothers, great grandparents, our ancestors, they lived here in this place, put here for them. That’s how we talk about our land. Our spirits lie in the water. When we camp by the creek, it soothes our spirits and keeps us cool.                                           Ivan Namirrkki 2003


Macassan Prau on bark 1948. Sam Barramba Wurramarra.

Dugong huntIMG_4933

Dugong Hunt, 1948

Jabarrgwa (Kneepad) Wurrabadalumba, 1896-c1969, Arnhem region

abo 2IMG_4938

Djowuy 2005, natural pigments on bark. Manman Wirrpanda b 1955.


Untitled, 2005


Maku inmaku pakani 2014

Ngupulya Pumani, b1948

Yukultji Napangati


Yathikpa, 2013

Nonggirrnga Marawilli

‘This Yirritja painting I’m doing is coming from the heart and mind. But it’s not the sacred Madarrpa painting. It’s just an ordinary fire, tongues of fire, fire burning backwards. A painting with no story, only flames.’

being a grandmother

2 Mar

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 5.02.46 pm

some walls

27 Feb

blue wallIMG_0610

St Heliers Bay wall

pink wall2014-06-13 18.55.04

Florentine wall

Italy wallIMG_2565

Vicenza wall

castelvecchio wallIMG_2445

Castelvecchio wall

Sri LankaIMG_1381

Sri Lanka wall

freeman's bay wall2014-08-23 16.32.40

Home wall

the art of losing

3 Oct

There are some days when nothing gets done. It’s Friday; it’s eleven o’clock. There are papers all over my desk, and on the floor are drawers I’ve pulled out from my other desk because I’ve lost a poem and several sheets of pale duck-egg paper to print the poem on. I emptied out the drawers pretending I might find them there but knowing that the folder in which I kept them is somewhere else – the library, the post office, the greengrocer. I’ve been into all those shops but they say no – they haven’t seen such a thing. The green grocer opened a dark door, kicked a cardboard box on the floor and shook his head. The woman at the post office said I’m so sorry –– what is your telephone number? The librarian remembered I’d asked her for a pencil and smiled sympathetically. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster. But right now the fluster is too much – papers, mess, anxiety. The wind is blowing, the blinds are rattling. Now it’s raining. At least I’ve made my bed. It’s got something to do with Jane. I keep saying her name over and over like Mr Rochester. We did Jane Eyre together in the fifth form. Our teacher told us there was much evidence of lunar display. Jane said she means lots of moon here and there and we turned the pages looking for the moon. There are bits of Jane all round the house.

54d1f25c-2e12-4f2f-a800-2b6704218bdbIllustration – Angela Barrett

EJP 1954-2014

30 Sep







The wax has hardened in strands on the table

like pale silk that once flowed through your fingers

becoming leaves or butterflies or waves

which might also be shells or towers, depending

on the twist of your thought. In the night I woke

and carried a candle back to my room

and in the shifting flicker saw a black

ribbon the glint of a stork’s beak a needle-

bristling strawberry. I remembered bluebells

beneath high trees in Otaki scattering

light like lace over the lawn. You leaned against

the painted post and said pansies were pensées

And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. You taught me

how to look when I was twelve and brought them

to school. See their tiny faces. Later

in a dim room where Saskia or one

of Rembrandt’s women gazed impassively you

showed me how to love Bembo Bodoni

and Baskerville’s Q. See its tender tail.

In the secret chambers of your mind you

were always thinking – about colour form shape

how a shimmer of blue suggested silence

how the space between words was rupture and repair.

I pick hellebores and freesias – their heads fall

forward they spread their scent like balm because you

have slid away. Into the invisible.










25 Sep

2014-05-24 08.16.34

Poem Written In a Garden


the days were crowded there was no room

to write about the poetry of things

the sage green tablecloth that brought

the grass into the room

the pink rose in the honey-jar that made

the field a garden

(the rose meaning love or grace

or just a witness to a hand out a window plucking it

you gone: and the coffee pot

still bends at the knee slightly

like Rodin unguarded in his studio

like the beloved standing as if he wishes

to be entirely


dictionaries piled up

give the room a mannish look

& those blue flowers, corn flowers

against the dark


dark as inscrutable sea walls in

shadow, as an altar by Bellini,

dark as the inside of a rabbit’s


declared their poetry, I said

but un-

translatable to one who couldn’t


the face of the beloved

framing them.


Joanna Margaret Paul like love poems



22 Sep



2014-07-01 11.41.21 - Version 2


Where to start from?


In the Wintereise bad weather makes a shroud,

fog binds the world

with cold-as-charity bandages.


Setting off

into the invisible, beyond music,

you strain at something

glimpsed –


but the retina’s

all fog and shine,

light curtained by water.


How to catch what you’re looking for

in the mind’s

tricky lens?



in the exit’s street-glare,

you remember ash twigs

held up for a moment against fog;


the way winter light slips

from room to room

of a house among water-meadows –


and how  something was always going ahead of you, always;



as if crowned with water droplets.

– from Fog Bound by Fiona Sampson.






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