In September, the Wagait Artists Group staged their first exhibition/festival featuring the work of Belyuen and Wagait Beach artists. This fine region I live in boasts a combined population of about 500 people, so staging an art exhibition was an achievement. Mind you, I’ve often called this place the Left Bank of Darwin as more and more artists have moved over, fleeing the unaffordable housing situation in town.
During the weekend, I facilitated a poetry workshop that featured free and structured writing exercises. One of the tasks was to respond to the artworks on display. I thought it would be nice to present here some of the poems and the artworks that inspired them. Thanks very much to the 12 participating writers and artists, to the WAGS, Wagait Beach Supermarket and Sue Chaplin for the photographs of the works.
Trust by Ally Richmond
Sandra Thibodeaux responds to Ally Richmond’s Trust
Ships draw water,
Hulls in double time –
spellbound by choice.
Rusty vessels hold hands,
burst their shadows.
Lit like a stage, containers tip
their cast of live people.
the sea turns green.
Poem © Sandra Thibodeaux
Image © Ally Richmond (photography Sue Chaplin)
Undercurrent by Nena Zanos
Meredith Davies responds to Nena Zanos’s Undercurrent
Bags resemble teeth
a suspended army of floating decay.
severed head lies on a bed of bottles
plastic ziplock snapjaw
the dread that lurks beneath.
Poem © Meredith Davies
Image © Nena Zanos (photography Sue Chaplin)
Space Mouse by Mili Eaton
Bry McVicar responds to Mili Eaton’s Space Mouse
BAM! Space mouse is here.
Ready for ACTION.
Fizzy crazy space mouse
Hypercolour space house.
ZAP! BAM! Mum – look!
Space mouse is gonna shoot the moon.
Poem © Bry McVicar
Image © Mili Eaton (photography Sue Chaplin)
Carrot, Corn, Beer by Dave Collins
Tara McDonald responds to Dave Collins’s Carrot, Corn, Beer
Carrot, Corn, Beer
Sinking / sucking / slurping
grotesque delicious fresh fruit
metallic tangy zinging
congestion / constipation
sharp stabbing pain
faint, drowsy mucous
childhood onion peels
layer upon layer danger – inhale
swamp sludge, citrus candy.
Poem © Tara McDonald
Image © Dave Collins (photography Sue Chaplin)
Barramundi by Anthony Moreen
Dylan Prins responds to Anthony Moreen’s Barramundi
Prize fish displayed
A treasured catch with pride
Mine was this big
And it had a jellyfish inside
She was a strong swimmer and
I speared her in my undies
We’ll surely enjoy for dinner
This blessed Barramundi.
Poem © Dylan Prins
Image © Anthony Moreen (photography Sue Chaplin)
The Very Hungry Bear by Nick Bland
Jeremy Garnett responds to Nick Bland’s The Very Hungry Bear
The Very Hungry Bear
Bruce the bear had had much luck
in gathering up his feast,
hiding where the fish were flung
by his furry fisher foe.
When confronted by said bear,
the evidence in his paws,
speechless he, with mouth much filled,
could only clutch and stare.
This, when painted by speedy hand,
was perfectly placid in kind
but failed to show the brawl that ensued,
bear fur and fish blood combined.
Poem © Jeremy Garnett
Image © Nick Bland (photography Sue Chaplin)