I’ve been freelancing at a creative agency for the last couple of weeks. It’s quite an interesting jump from running my own business to being back in that kind of world. Really lovely people to be around though.
This weekend I did a whole lot of nothing. It’s what I needed. I did however pick some flowers from the garden and thoughtfully arranged them. Ikebana is an ancient form of art and meditation in Japan. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid, but I of course didn’t know what it was way back then. I just used to walk around barefoot in my childhood garden snipping off lavender, azaleas (the leaves so sticky), ferns and nasturtiums. I would then sit on my front porch and take my time with arranging them just so. Then off to proudly present them to my mum because that’s who they were always, always for.
Oh, those sad and weary eyes break my heart. A very short but poignant quote of hers that I like to remind myself of from time to time:
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
I have been very quiet on the blog front these last few months. I blame it on preparing for moving house….and now a couple of weeks settling in to said house. I moved from country Victoria to a suburb near the city of Melbourne. I can’t express how much I’m enjoying the creativity of this city and the warm hum of its people.
Another piece of excitement recently was having my work featured in an article on The Age. The work is from an educational app I provided illustrations for to help prevent racism in schools. I wrote about it a few blog posts ago. It was such a worthwhile project to work on and I feel so grateful for the opportunity, hey. You can read more about it here.
As someone still swimming around in grief, I found comfort in reading Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (possibly my third reading?). I find this particular paragraph from the book to be quite softening for me:
“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “so it goes.” “
I made this painterly caricature tribute to Vonnegut. I wish I could send it to him, apparently he used to be quite warm toward his fans. But his body is in a bad condition at this moment in time.
It’s funny how there are times where I feel like the blood running through my veins is a shade of beige. But then suddenly, it’s like I could explode from all of the ideas and creativity I want to experience. The latter is me right now.
I’m craving a photography mission soon. And I will do it. Most likely with my film camera as it’s been a while since I’ve felt the anticipation of having film developed.
I took this particular photo a couple of weeks ago. It’s my dear Mia cat enjoying some afternoon sun. She knows what’s good for her. I love that scene in The Hayao Miyazaki documentary where he is looking at his cat saying “Look how carefree she looks….you have no schedule”.
Well, it seems that the universe has an understanding of the types of projects I would be over the moon to work on. One I’m currently a part of is an educational app for Australian children, put together by an incredibly worthwhile charity, All Together Now. My involvement is to design characters and provide illustrations for various scenarios based on exclusion around racism.
A bit more about the app: “A recent study of NSW teachers’ found that only half of classroom teachers had undertaken professional learning around incorporating anti-racism strategies into lessons, with 20% not having taken any professional learning in the area of multiculturalism. 60% of teachers agreed that implementing anti-racism strategies are effective for fostering cultural inclusiveness in school….In response to the findings in our research and development phase, All Together Now will be creating an evidence-based app that will teach students in Year 2 (8 years old) and Year 4 (10 years old) how to identify and challenge non race-based and race-based exclusion….” You can read more about the whole project here.
Personally, I was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh bullying at primary school. It hurt in more ways than one. But the sad thing is, I can remember instances where I joined in on jokes and jaunting of other children who weren’t Caucasian, (because they weren’t). It’s incredibly shameful to admit. If I could take it all back, I would. So I guess the next best thing for me to do is to contribute to positive change, now.
I’m part of a group who organise care packages to be sent to people wrongfully locked up in offshore detention centres. These asylum seekers fled dangerous conditions, only to endure more heart ache and persecution because our country can’t see past its own nose. These packages provide comfort and more importantly, a sense that they haven’t been forgotten. If you would like to help me cover the costs of the package I will be sending, please click the link below. Your help would be so very much appreciated.
illustration from a series I created for The Red Cross Australia.
I just finished this illustration as a protest of sorts. Hindsight is a dangerous thing. For at the time, those affected by atrocities throughout history were treated with suspicion and ill ease. But as years passed, the Western world embraced them (with arms still a little limp). And so we look back and wag our finger at our ancestors for not doing enough to help those in desperate need.
How are the asylum seekers of this time any different? I can feel the breeze of my great, great grand child’s finger wagging at me. I defensively call out to her from the past “…it’s our government’s fault!” and mostly, it is. But have I done enough to let them know what I won’t stand for?
NO. Most of the asylum seekers arriving in Australia come by air with a valid visa.
Illustrations part of a series created for The Red Cross Australia.