Still sparkin'

2016

Looking back, looking forward

Having drawn up a summation of 2016, especially for Fjord Review, it seemed fitting to do the same for Louise and my year.

Snatching icons, shattering hearts, breaking spirits, annus horribilis. Here, there, everywhere, 2016, politically, globally, environmentally, is being branded as a terrible year. Skewed towards greed and the gold plating of the self, an uncharitable year of inaction, soaked in despair; 2016, you rotter, you scoundrel, you thug, you bully, be wounded by name calling as well as by sticks and stones. But, perhaps, aren't they all. Each year is full of misfortune and cruelty and loss. Closer to home, to my year, in my pocket, in my nest, lo! on balance the year has been closer to annus mirabilis. And it has reaffirmed the value of (all) art, and kindness. The importance of a questioning, an engaged mind too, I’d say.

A quick look back at 2016, before she hands it over to ’17 waiting in the wings, and it was a good year (for me). I hope it also had enough light bits to balance the dark for you as well.

This year, we said farewell to dear ol’ Perce, and though he remains in our hearts still, alongside Omar and those before him, we found we had room still for another. Before summer closed, we welcomed sweet Lottie Long Legs to the menagerie. The perfect fit from her very first day, she continues to grow both in confidence and condition. (How long her hair!)

We adopted a second donkey. Her name is Ruby, and she joins Zena in the stable (of the Donkey Sanctuary, UK). And we adopted Ikemba, a female mine detection rat working in civil war torn rural Angola, who can detect land mines faster than a metal detector (HeroRATS).

We enjoyed sharing our zines and artists’ books with you at the NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair and the Sticky Institute Zine Fair. We loved the chance to exhibit in the windows of Port Jackson Press Print Gallery (and upon her walls too), Obus and Collected Works (as part of Blindside’s On the Verge festival), and at Metropolis Gallery, ACMI Mediatheque (as part of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival) and Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (currently, until the 12th of February, 2017).

We were thrilled to have our artists’ books in the 2016 National Works on Paper (MPRG), 2016 Libris Awards (Artspace Mackay), and Freemantle Arts Centre Print Award. And to have our artists’ book, Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds acquired alongside Closer to Natural, by Artspace Mackay; editions of Because I Like You acquired by National Library of Australia, Mornington Peninsula Shire, State Library of Victoria, State Library of Queensland, and University of Melbourne Library; and The Company You Keep acquired by the NGV.

We managed to see 57 films at MIFF. To write about 20 performances for Fjord Review. We took turns at losing our creative mojo only to find it after negotiating a path through a thicket, backwards. And as Louise continues ‘her path to wellness’ with weekly physio, daily treatments, medication and meditation, highs and lows, the shared course, always. A shared path that reminds us that we’ve a lot to be thankful for. All love to our dear families and friends. And thank-you to all of you who have supported our work this year.

Gathered here, this visual record of highs made possible by persevering through the lows. Doubts and grievances make us stronger, reads my t-shirt ready to be wrung out for the adventures ahead.

Come what spanner in the works is thrown, onwards to a new year! 

 

Image credit: Figure of the heavenly bodies, illuminated illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric conception of the Universe by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho, from his work Cosmographia, made in France, 1568 (Bibilotèque nationale de France, Paris)