poetry:nature:Visual Arts

Home songs

“Many people do not quite have their own song and dance. Current music is too much a commodity, too much in flux, it cannot dye us. We are not quite sure what our home music is.” Gary Snyder, The Practice of the wild, p24.

Being part of a colonising race, (pure Ozzy mongrel), has given me a legacy of confusion. My own traditional song has been lost. This personal/family/land displacement has come at the cost of indigenous homelands, massacre, theft, the stolen generation. It’s a two-way destruction. I am stuck with the spiritually redundant capatlyst/industrialist culture.

Recently i heard the Australian activist john seed interviewed on the radio. He believes that he is part of an older ancestry, a joint ancestry. The Cenozoic era is our common heritage that we share with the earth as a whole living being. He asks the question, should we throw away that heritage away just so we can buy a new TV or microwave?

These issues are really central to my art.


Art becomes a way of deep enjoyment for the spirit, this is its healing aspect. Don’t need a new TV because we stay up late playing music, songs we write or our friends write, drinking fresh herbal tea from the garden: paintings are dynamic teaching narratives that transform us as we wash dishes, rinse the sprouts, knead the bread…

By its very self-sufficient nature: art making is a form of activism because it feeds the spirit: fulfills that deep human need to sing and dance, to communicate with the whole body: to touch in relationship the tender places.

In 1910, the African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocked out his white opponent Tommy Burns in one round. The boxing match took place in Rushcutters bay on a make shift ring in front of thousands of white Australians: Captain cook discovered Australia! (he didn’t notice that land was already occupied by a cultured people).  In the 1790’s Pemulwuy lead the Eora, Tharawal and Darug people in a resistance campaign that almost got rid of the English colony.

So here we are, trying to make a home, trying to belong: trying to find a home song and dance.

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