Umachee Culture Love

Three homes stood silhouetted against the darkening sky, marking the settlement that would be known as Umagico Community. There were already over five families living between the three buildings, but they opened their doors to new arrivals as more families were relocated from their homes in Lockhart River.

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Rice Mag Issue 4: Abandoned

Issue 4: Abandoned

Housed by these urban spaces, these concrete pillars, rivers of stone, towers of brick and mortar, floor to ceiling glass and metal.Without people, it is nothing but walls and pavement.

We make this city, we built these mazes, gave them names, meanings and memories.This city is ours.

We stare at the walls, already laced with workds and images of artists who have seen the promise of the abandoned place as a blank canvas.

“I’d rather create a really great paste up or design and put it up on a wall somewhere that hundreds of people will see each day, than confine my work to the walls of a gallery.”

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Abandoned Spaces Re-birthed

“I’m not about defacing property,” he said, “I’d never paste or sticker a school or hospital or anything, you know. But if it’s a run down, derelict or abandoned place then to me it just feels like a blank canvas, and we are giving it a new purpose, a new lease on life. It’s all about rebirth.”

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These empty halls are waiting. Breath baited, like my own. Broken glass crunches beneath my shoes and echoes through the empty concrete shell that once bustled with life. We stop and listen, of course the walls still have ears. But now green fingers reach from the garden beds to caress the walls and windows and the halls are lined with a different kind of life. Echoes and stories left by the skilled hands of artists, rarely seen in the moment of creation but forever inked to the mortar they cover.

“To me, it’s about finding new spaces and interpreting them. The space finds me.”

I am trailing Brisbane street artist Skullcapper as he scopes out new spaces for his work to reside. As he told me, it’s not about defacing public property… it’s the opposite. It’s about expression and bringing a life and spirit to an area that was left to the wolves.

“I like to use non-traditional spaces, I guess that’s one of the reasons street art appeals to me,”he says, bucket and backpack in hand.

“For most of the bigger works, it’s the location, size and features will determine the scope and design of the piece itself.”

IMG_1744 copy2 copyWe stare at the walls, already laced with works and images of artists who have seen the promise of the abandoned place as a blank canvas. Enormous works of art, detailed and engaging, coat the walls both inside and out. A kaleidoscope of design and creation covers nearly every inch of the space, arguably one of the city’s most extensive art collections standing free for all to enjoy.

But why here?

“I’d rather create a really great paste up or design and put it up on a wall somewhere that hundreds of people will see each day, than confine my work to the walls of a gallery,” Skullcap says, as he heads upstairs, engulfed by a collage of paint, stickers and paset-ups.

“You clearly respect the work of other street artists, do you collaborate often?” I ask, watching as he prepares the bucket of gluey mixture.

“I try not to, there are a lot of politics involved in Street Art, it’s like highschool. There’s a lot of egotistical bullshit.”

“I mean nothing is really original anymore, we are all just creating used ideas in a fresh way, it’s bound to overlap here and there.”

I suppose. We all have something to say, sometimes it’s the same thing, but that doesn’t mean it is less important. That’s it really. It’s about acceptance, diversity, creativity and making your own in this life and city that we call home. Without these people and their words, ideas, actions and opinions this would be nothing but a concrete shell. We the people are the paint and creativity that brings this city to life, as these artists breathe life into this abandoned places.

Each person adds another layer, another voice and spice to this place, the life of this city. Street art is an art for everyone, a relationship with the structures that house our days. A mark of respect, objection, love, fun or just to say I was Here.

 

“This is what I see myself doing for the rest of my life,” he says to me with a smile,

“it’s what gets me out of bed.”
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**Full album here.

In the Garden With Wild Rice

I recently held my first fashion shoot.    Ever.

We scoped out some beautiful every day places in our home Brisbane and transformed them using beautiful people, some gorgeous makeup by dunkle authentic and of course our own style and good humour.Here’s what happened! …

Photography: Jessica Rhian, Wild Rice

Makeup: dunkle authentic

Models: Jess Adjei and Palawasha.

Love it? Check out more pics from the shoots here:

Cactus   City   River

Culture, Tradition & Traffic Jams

There he sits on the crumbling steps of a temple, its tiered roof offering shade from the midday sun. With arms folded across his lap, he watches the traffic racing by, stirring a cloud of dust around his shoulders.

The crinkles around his eyes deepen as he squints through the dust and sunlight, as his eyes meet mine his face cracks into a wide smile and his hands raise to make Namaste. Returning the gesture, I follow his gaze to the square opposite, where make shift tents, colourful flags and decorations have been erected to border the river of people weaving their way through. Continue reading

Holy men

Nepalese Holy Men abide within the walls of Pashuputinath Temple in Kathmandu. They ask for money for food and tobacco. He has devoted his life to the quest for spiritual enlightenment, forgoing a career, home, education… a ‘normal life’ to seek enlightenment so that we do not have to.

That is what I’m told. Continue reading

Large as Life

Have you ever looked at a polystyrene esky and thought to yourself… I could make a dugong out of that?

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Marsat Newman with Foam Carvings

Using only tools he had around the home and materials found around his community, Marsat Newman, a local carpenter from Bamaga, has found magic in the mundane. Wanting to create large scale sculptures that were also light enough to lift or hang, Marsat decided to utilise what light and malleable materials were already on hand. Collecting polystyrene eskys, he stacked layers of foam and carved them, using only his garden chainsaw, into the likeness of a mother and baby dugong.

Though the foam sculptures are not the only project this local carpenter has on the go. Using the offcuts from last years regional show wood chopping event, Marsat carved a hammer-head shark, dugong and a crocodile, each over a meter long, each taking between 3 and 5 weeks to create.   “I wanted to try carving on a bigger scale, this is my first try,” Marsat said of the beautifully detailed carvings sitting underneath his family home in the heart of Bamaga.

Marsat Newman Master Craftsman, Bamaga

Marsat Newman Master Craftsman, Bamaga

His art has long been influenced by the hunting culture and lifestyle of his home, on the edge of mainland Australia and the Torres Strait.

 

The sculptures are amazingly life-like, perhaps due to Marsat’s own familiarity with the animal. As a traditional saltwater hunter, Marsat hunts both turtle and dugong in the waters of the Torres Strait. The animals are not only a source of food and a cultural rite, they are also totems for local tribes, a link to culture and heritage. “The saltwater crocodile is my wife’s totem,” Marsat explains, “for me, these are the other animals are animals we hunt, they are a part of our life here.”

NPA art

Marsat carving 020 copyHave you ever looked at a polystyrene esky and thought to yourself… I could make a dugong out of that?

Using only tools he had around the home and materials found around his community, Marsat Newman, a local carpenter from Bamaga, has found magic in the mundane.

Wanting to create large scale sculptures that were also light enough to lift or hang, Marsat decided to utilise what light and malleable materials were already on hand. Collecting polystyrene eskys, he stacked layers of foam and carved them, using only his garden chainsaw, into the likeness of a mother and baby dugong.

Though the foam sculptures are not the only project this local carpenter has on the go. Using the offcuts from last years regional show wood chopping event, Marsat carved a hammer-head shark, dugong and a crocodile, each over a meter long,  each taking between 3 and 5 weeks to…

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Real Wealth and Rice

I awake, already hot and sticky, to the sound of small feet rushing along the concrete corridor outside my door. The other volunteer, an English girl named Polly, is already awake and slowly disentangling herself from the mosquito net surrounding her bed.

It’s only my third day in the orphanage, but I’m already used to the routine. We awake after the children, rush to the balcony to watch the elephants slowly passing on their way to the jungle for grazing, help with schoolwork or games then biscuits and sweet tea for breakfast, always eaten sitting on the floor of the small kitchen located across the muddy courtyard we share with several other families who live in the building. Continue reading

Laura Dance Festival 2013

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Age old markings decorated their bodies, dust thickened the air as the dancers feet met the ground of the sacred meeting place and songs of language and dreaming stories hung on the air, drifting through the silently watching crowds and trees.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary this year, with a gathering of Aboriginal cultures from across Cape York, each sharing their culture and heritage through song and dance. Three dance groups from the NPA made the 10 hour journey to Laura to be a part of the cultural celebration, sharing their own songs, stories and dance. Dancers, singers and supporters from Injinoo, Umagico and New Mapoon took part in the three day event, showing the cultural strength of their own communities, and the unity of our region, through supporting one another.

“It was deadly to see our communities represented at the festival,” NPA Mayor Bernard Charlie said,  “to see our community members practicing their culture with pride, and supporting each other’s as equals. However, it was disappointing not to see all five communities represented this year, with dancers from Bamaga and Seisia troupes not in the line up.”

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Images by Jess Saxton, copyright.

Full album PDF available for download here, proudly sponsored by Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.