2017 Launch Speech

                              Creative Connections Launch Speech  


What does it mean to creatively connect? How can one art form sing and bridge to another? These are the wider thoughts, the bigger questions, the deeper aspects of ponder that are asked by such a phrase. The answer, in one sense, is easy. In the literary realm the reaction of word to art is called ekphrastic writing. From the Greek, “ekphrasis”, the description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise. And in poetry, when the text may amplify and expand on meaning.


And that answer, that energy derived from this ‘deeper ponder’ is very much with us in this exhibition. It’s in the way that the visual, the paintings, invite and provoke a written response. It’s in that concept I like to think of as “1 + 1 = 3”, that synergy. When I was young I was taught music before maths. In music there’s no zero – a bar starts at one. So I thought that beat one plus the next beat two took us to beat three – 1 + 1 = 3. Easy! It took a year of remedial maths classes in the staff-room for me to be “untaught”!


In Creative Connections 2017 there are no zeros. No, only plenty of beyond logic moments when art and word combine to bloom and sing. From Kelly Thompson’s untitled art work, Amanda Joy in “Painting Seeds” gives us “coalescence of light to cornea”. From Bonnie Wilkinson’s collage “Woman”, Deborah Micallef’s “a rustle of silk, a clatter of beeds, a crinkle of taffeta”. In “Lyrebirds’ Lair” by Max Merckenshlager in response to the painting “Nellie” by Janelle McMahon, we read “Rainforest’s secretive plunder of maiden-hair, fruits and of waterfall thunder”. And perhaps a signature line for the entire exhibition, from Nathan Hondros in his untitled poem sitting beneath the untitled art from Elinor Doddrell, “we write to the margins in words the other sees”.


These are all very inspired poems written to very inspired paintings and artworks. And a special award tonight, the Creative Connections Award, to the poem that most reflects the ethos of the art and exhibition as a whole, is given to Coral Carter for her untitled poem for Kaye Howell’s untitled painting. A beautiful matching of text to image. From the beginning section “night purple ribbons/ daylight frays from the horizon”, and closing with “in this industrial part of town/ steel beams nuts and bolts/ begin to scream”. This poem has a palpable voice, a real direction and purpose, and a very strong link with the acrylic/ink/paper of the visuals.


Congratulations to all of the artists and poets involved here. And congratulations also to the myriad of people who have worked behind and in front of the scenes to make this exhibition and book what it has become. Ten years young tonight. Well done to all.



Kevin Gillam