2018 Exhibition Launch Speech

I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Wadjuk Noongar people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and those to come.  

It gives me great pleasure to speak of what Creative Connections means to me and the challenges it creates for my writing.

Creative Connections is an amazing initiative, the seeds planted for an exhibition of poetry an art by poet Maureen Sexton and Sandy Foster from the Disability Services Comm, in 2006.

The artists represented this year are clients of Ability Centre, Nulsen  Disability Services and Intelife, artists from Garvey Park Art group and Mixed Palette artists (Rockingham) and independent artist, Aimee Dickinson, from Northclilffe.

I have been involved in writing poems for Creative Connections for several years now it is one of the highlights of my writing year – I believe there is more than just my own writing; that it is connected with the wider world of Art, and its possibilities.  The beauty and interpretation of art is in the eyes of the viewer; the artist sets the scene with colour and vigour, so the artwork becomes a vehicle for the poet – an inspiration, to take the art and make connections; to align and to connect with the art – almost, if you can imagine, to draw a thread and unravel its meaning. That is what I love best – to see where the art will take me.

The amazing artists here have painted from their hearts: colours, imaginings, feelings, have chosen their favourite colours and expressed their ideas in paint, thick lines and thin lines, washed the page with voice, with revelations, with meaning.

And the role of the poet, as I see it, as I see myself, is to take the baton, this challenge given to me by the artists here and running with it – to unravel, to dig deep into the centre of the artist and the artwork and connect with it. Because art, whether painting or writing, music,  multi-media, any art, is about connecting, to join the artwork with nature, and to have the freedom to go where our interpretation takes us.

As a poet I write mostly about people and nature, so as I look deep into these beautiful pieces, all of which are for sale, by the way, I see life and nature in all its glories, its colours, its philosophies, its possibilities and I am lost in the journey; follow the path that guides me. In this way, I go to places I would not ordinarily go.   And I am in awe of the places that these amazing artists can take me.  We travel together, poets, artists, audiences. We revisit our associations, our memories.  There is music in poetry, there is music in art.

I am inspired by light, shadows, colour, movement, nature, the artists’ interpretation of life, and where it takes the poets and readers amongst us.

Simply to be here is to connect: to discover something new, something inside yet outside of ourselves.

This is my favourite poetry /art event of the year, to be part of the warmth and friendships of the painters and poets, their friends and families. Creative Connections, in its 11th wonderful year.

The anthology that goes with this exhibition: CC Anthology 2018 is a collection to be taken home, to revisit the art, to re-read the poems and to remember and enjoy, a keepsake; a beautiful little book, it also works to inspire future artists and poets.

Poets generally work alone, but in Creative Connections we work together. There is immense pleasure in working as a collective, collaboration, to a communal end. Two paintings with poems from previous exhibitions hang on my walls at home; they take pride of place in the entry, and they continue to inspire me and connect with friends who visit. They continue to bring joy and inspiration.

I want to quote from Elliptical, a poem in CC 2016 – in response to Elinore Doddrell’s acrylic painting; poet Scott Patrick Mitchell   writes; ‘sometimes the art we / make is greater than the poetry / it creates  (p22) . J.R. McRae in the poem, In the Forest in response to Gynetta Panaia’s artwork in CC 2016 writes: ‘Feel the tiny tracery / isn’t it like lace / never knowing what you’ll find is / the magic of this place’

Congratulations to all the amazing artists and wonderful poets featured in this year’s Creative Connections.  Thank you to Gary De Piazzi, Val Neubecker, Jan Mason, Jan Padgett, Jane Davis, Gareth Goodway, Geraldine Pillinger,  Patti Ferber, Rebecca Johnston and Coral Carter and all those other people who work so hard to make this event happen especially the curators Rosie Vinicombe and Jae Criddle. Thank you all for coming. Find the magic!  I am thrilled and honoured to launch Creative Connections, 2018.

Rose van Son © 13 August, 2018