Interactive sculpture proposal for Next Wave festival 2014

‘Water is Life’ Interactive Light Sculpture

A celebration of our precious fresh water resources. A spiralling lotus form constructed from natural materials, bamboo and calico, is lit by flowing rainbow water projections. You can walk inside the spiralling sculptural form and meditate on the simple truth that water is life.

The sculpture will be approximately 7 meters in diameter. The largest lotus petals at the outside of the form will stand 2 meters high. The petals diminish in size as the lotus form spirals inwards to the centre. When the viewer is standing at the centre of the spiral, the petal forms fans out in 4 spirals of increasing size. Lights and projected images, powered by solar power, will light the sculpture.

103_1972Lotus Flower, Punya Permaculture Farm, Thailand

Sculptures by William Eastlake

9Sculpture by the sea 10Sculpture by the sea detail

12Corin Bank music festival 1

Coal Tea Room Instillation, 2010 by Fern York in collatoration with Renew Newcastle and Sydney University of Technology Architecture students. 20100227_5d2_CitySwitch-6525

Winning for a CSG free Future




Coal and clay hearts

A Major Win! Fullerton Cove and Newcastle’s Drinking water is safe for now. It has taken a few days to sink in. We got the news of Tuesday the 2nd of April, 2013 that Dart Energy has pulled out of one of their major projects. Finally yesterday afternoon I started high five-ing, running around with a mad grin on my face and telling all I met, including the fella down at the bottleo at the Irish pub on Beaumont Street, that we HAVE HAD A WIN. And it is a significant one.

I have dedicated my working life voluntarily for the last three years to fighting coal seam gas locally in the Karuah River area, some 50-100kms North of Newcastle and most recently here in  Newcastle city. It has been taxing on me. There has been too many horrific deadlines for legal paperwork, endless photocopying and sharing of Environmental Ass. Reports. Looking at the terrifying realities for the local landscape. There has been meetings, tears and I truly have only been doing it because to me, the reality of coal seam gas for me has been that there would be no point in having children, as there would be no clean water. Truly terrifying and depressing!

That harsh reality is now a distant bad dream for Newcastle city’s drinking water and for the amazing locals out at Fullerton Cove, Fern Bay, who put up the good fight and won. I was told that there where some sore heads out at the Bay after Tuesday night’s party. This is just the first of many wins for this fight for our future, for our water and land.

I’m over the moon. I have seen too many mining companies desecrating sacred sites, despite the Elders standing up for country, despite the locals fighting for the land. A win feels amazing and all I can say is keep up your spirits all you amazing people out there putting up the good fight, for our land, for our future. We will win this one, so start planning the party for when we have banned CSG across the board and are rid of that insanely destructive industry. We, the people, are winning this fight and we will have some amazing stories to tell our grandchildren of how we kept the water clean for them to look after and enjoy.

New Year brings inspiring visitors

Broggabri Leaves

Broggabri Leaves, 2013 :: Pastel on hand-made paper

The year has begun with many inspiring visitors coming through the doors. Activists, musicians, dancers and artists have been sharing yarns, adding art to the walls of the ‘gallery’ (our lounge room) and hanging out under the shade of the mango tree as it’s fruits ripen.

Sakura and Darius (MC Testament from Test their Logik) came through town to share their messages of freedom against oppression, mining and colonisation with the ‘True Cost of Coal’ poster created by the Beehive Collective. Mountain top removal for coal mining in the Appalachian mountain region shares parallels to the coal mining history here. See Mountain Justice for more information.

The Real Cost of Coal

The True Cost of Coal :: Beehive Collective

I had the opportunity to visit Camp Broggabri on Gamilaroi Land this month. It was an honour to meet local Gamilaroi families. It is heartening to see the local people standing together to stop the expansion of two existing coal mines and the approval of new mines in this area. The Camp is in the Leard Forest, a special place with great significance culturally and environmentally.

Led by Aunty Dolly, we gathered in a circle and swept the ground with leaves from the Camp area, gathering strength together to save this Land. And did the rains come! After we had been out to look at the coal mines, the rain started and continued. The following day, just before the women of the group did our daily sweeping of the earth with leaves, out came a vivid sunset rainbow. It was a privilege to cook for the hardworking activists out there for the weekend and to spend time at that special place.

Jonno and Muzza at camp

Jonno and Muzza at Camp Broggabri

My friends Jonathan Moylan and Muzza, have been tirelessly working to save this area. Jonno is currently being put under pressure by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) for a Media Release Hoax that was sent to major Media outlets in January, 2013.

Jonno is being investigated for sending a Media Release purportedly from ANZ stating that the bank had withdrawn $1.2 billion in financing for Whitehaven’s new Maules Creek mine near Boggabri in the New South Wales’ upper Hunter region. The Australian, January 24th, 2013

The share value of Whitehaven dropped 8.9 per cent ($314 million) before the Media Release was officially confirmed a hoax. Jonno is currently being threatened with a maximum fine of almost $500,000 or a potential 10-year jail sentence. We are standing by Jonno’s actions and believe he has done a great job in highlighting the vested interests of the ANZ bank in coal mining projects, as well as raising awareness about the Mines in area. It has to be noted that journalists and media outlets did not do their job and check information before going public with the Media Release sent by Jonathan.

This week I was also sent a Notice from ASIC to produce information in regards to my work and to attend a private meeting with two representatives of ASIC, although I had nothing at all to do with the hoax Media Release. The penalty for not complying with this request in my case is $17,000 or two years prison.

Photographs of Camp Broggabri



Camp Brekkie

Camp Brekkie

CampBroggabriBroggabri Camp

GamilaroiFamiliesGamilaroi Families




Kid’s Future


Sunset Rainbow

Artwork from 2012

‘Star Women’
Ink and pen on handmade paper, A5 size : $120.00
‘Star Gazer’
Ink and pen on handmade paper, A5 size : $120.00
Star Gazer
‘Marri Tree Sister’
Mix media on paper :: original not for sale (limited edition of four prints on 100% recycled paper with vegetable inks, $180.00 each)
‘Star Tree’
Mix media on paper :: original not for sale (limited edition of four prints on 100% recycled paper with vegetable inks, $180.00 each)

'Star Tree' Ink and Guarche on paper : Original not for sale, limited edition prints on recycled paper : $180.00 unframed, $260.00 framed in recycled hardwood

‘Moon, Waves & Love’

Linocut Print on ricepaper, series of three : $150.00 unframed, $260.00 framed in recycled hardwood

'Moon, Waves & Love' Linocut on ricepaper, series of 3 : $120.00 unframed, $220.00 framed in recycled hardwood


Silkscreen Print on paper, series of eight: $120.00 unframed, $260.00 framed in recycled hardwood


Exhibition for the South West Forests

Kurb Gallery Invite

New work by Rosalie Vinicombe and Fern York

Fern and Rosie are emerging Artists working in mediums ranging from animation and documentary to sculpture, painting and printmaking. Fern and Rosie have been involved in front line conservation work for over a decade. The Artists are raising awareness about the South West Forests and the need to look after these precious ecosystems for the future.

Kurb Gallery

312 William Street  Perth WA 6003
(08) 9328 5246

Opening 5pm to 9pm, Saturday the 8th of December, 2012. The exhibition runs for one week, until the 14th of December, Kurb Gallery opening hours are 9am to 5pm.

Art Residency :: for the South West Forests

I’m very happy to be in the studio on High Street in Fremantle with Environmental Artist Rosie Vinicombe. We are making art work for an exhibition at Kurb Gallery in December, 2012. Our new work is a continuation from The Forest for the Trees exhibtion.

The Hills, 2010 The Forest for the Trees

Rosie & I have been involved in front line advocacy work for the South West forests for a while. We want to remind people that the SW forests are unique. Marri, Jarrah, Tuart & Karri trees, with all the amazing understory & animals that call the forests home, are unique to this corner of the country. The SW of WA is one of the 25 most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. The SW has been continuously logged & developed since European occupation in 1829. As a result, many plant & animal species need special conservation attention to ensure that future generations can enjoy our forests.

We are having an inspirational collaborative residency. I’m looking forward to the exhibition in December.  Here are some of the works in progress.

Thank you Rosie for having me in the High Street Studio.

Poetry & Peace for Baghdad

Thank you to Noushin Arefadib for support and feedback in writing this blog piece. Much respect, Sister!

Winter in Newcastle :: At the moment I’m trying to work on many things. I’ve been house bound for a month with a back & arm injury incurred during Aikido training. I’ve caught up on sleep & had time to contemplate, to appreciate the fact that I’m getting back to making my artwork again. I had the realisation that I would not let anything stop me from making my art. It has been a valuable lesson.

Art :: It’s a joy to be dedicated wholeheartedly to my art. I finally feel I have the skills & voice, so the work is just flowing. I LOVE the Newcastle Art School. My teachers are amazing, talented, dedicated artists. I feel blessed to be studying there.

Thoughts on war and peace :: I have been working on a drawing in ink & charcoal. It’s a large scale piece about Baghdad. What an amazing city. I would love to go there one day, if I was ever invited.

My art piece seeks to critique the propaganda campaign against Islamic culture & the invasion of the Middle East by coalition forces. Postmodern capitalism, with it’s throw away culture of consume crap & slave mentality, is the coloniser’s refined mechanism of conquest in the present day & age.

My art piece depicts the turmoil left by the war on the Middle East & Islamic culture. I have chosen to depict Baghdad, after analysis of the construction work taking place there at the moment. The new buildings in the artwork are true to the latest google maps; the re-built Baghdad features the ‘Ministry of Children’ & the ‘Ministry of Oil’ in the same new block of buildings; an Orwellian landscape; a constant reminder of colonisation. This new urban landscape is in stark contrast to the rubble left after countless bombs dropped on the city.

I hope that this artwork inspires optimism for the ability of people to rebuild their lives, to remember their roots & culture & to decolonize.

Bagdad in the 1530s

From the Ottoman campaign chronicle Beyān-e manāzel-e sefer-e ʿErāqeyn, completed in 994/1537 (Istanbul University Library, after Brend, Pl. 6).

Baghdad :: I was sitting a few years ago in the late afternoon sun in my back yard, with tea, snacks & a good friend who was born in Iraq. My friend is a poet, performance artist & man of many talents. He fled his home to come to Australia as a refugee when the War started. He was in shock that afternoon, as he had just returned from visiting family back in Iraq. He told me about the depleted uranium the coalition forces dropped on his people.

Baghdad has been torn apart, the coalition forces have been hell bent on destroying the lives of the Iraqi people. Bagdad is a centre of the arts, literature, learning & culture. The coalition forces have dropped depleted uranium on the Iraqi children. Is there any question that those responsible for these war crimes, these atrocities are absolutely not civilised.. Bagdad is a centre of art, love, education – bombed.

I have been reading Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet (English translation) whilst convalescing. This writing is truly life’s wisdom to me. As I read Gibran’s words I imagine a fragrant, beautiful landscape that has inspired the writing. I would love to visit this place of my dreams & I know this place still exists.

Peace for the Children of Baghdad :: My art piece is for the children of the Middle East, represented by my image of Baghdad… & a peacefull future for us all. That the children will grow up strong & safe, remembering Bagdad’s history. To rebuild their lives & city strong & healthy. The children of Bagdad do not need the coalition forces, who have poisoned the people, raped, stollen, murdered, tortured their brothers & sisters. That is an absolute insult. People everywhere are capable of administrating their own affairs. The children of Baghdad are fully capable of re-building their city, inspiration to so many artists, poets, writers, thinkers.

DREAM: THE CITY: Bagdad, 2008

Veronica Golos

Who am I that I sit here at this door?

In my dream, there is a long alley, a place I learn Want.

The city is a mirror. Inside my reflection, old men are on fire—
Flaming like red kaffiyahs.

Litter ignites into funeral flares; the bread of the dead is baking.
Above the moans of children, soldiers warm their hands.

Avenues widen into downpour, detours unfold, flower into cemeteries.
Into this narrow place, two rivers clash.

Am I the one covered with brine, smelling of tides?
Or am I the stone, lifted like a flag?


A multimedia storm & stop animation for ‘Grounded’

Grounded written by Alana Valentine & Directed by Toni Main opened last week at the Playhouse Theatre in Newcastle.

It’s not a weird obsession. It’s a passion alright. It’s not a strange, dangerous perversion. It’s an interest. I have an interest. Remember those?

Against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing events in Newcastle’s recent history we meet Farrah, a teenager obsessed with the industrial port. It’s a fascination none of the kids at school understand. It’s fine to be interested in something, but take it too far & you’re a total freak. When a storm forces the Pasha Bulker onto to Nobbys Beach, & the world’s attention turns to the harbour she knows so well, all of Farrah’s plans for the future become grounded in a confronting reality.

This touching & unexpected coming-of-age tale by one of Australia’s most acclaimed playwrights, Alana Valentine, has been co-commissioned by Australian Theatre for Young People & Tantrum Theatre. Capturing the contrasts of an industrial city re-inventing itself in a new century, Grounded looks at the way life can take us to places we don’t expect. The commission of Grounded was made possible through the generous support of the atyp Foundation.

:: I can relate to Farrah, being a geek myself. The Pasha Bulka washed up on Nobbies’ beach in the heart of Newcastle the winter before I moved to Newcastle from Perth. I was looking into the Newie arts scene, checking out the This Is Not Art festival guide & looking forward to discovering Newcastle…  & then a massive storm washed a frigging huge coal boat onto the main beach in town. I thought, I gotta move to this place!

So I did & now I’m a part of the arts scene & I’ve been given a great opportunity to make my first stop animations & multimedia projections for Grounded in collaboration with my good friend & fellow digital artist Alan Whitehead. Alan & I created a multimedia storm :: involving ink blots & time lapse clouds – that washes the Pasha Bulka right up onto the beach/stage in the play. It has been a blast! Thanks go to the Australia Council for the Arts for supporting me in this creative project through my Artstart Grant.

Here are the stop animations Alan & I made.

Window 1 (stop animation)

Window 2 (stop animation)

Window 3 (stop animation)

Grounded has been getting some great reviews and will head to Sydney for a season at the Australian Theatre For Young People:

30 May 2012 to 2 Jun 2012
Wed – Sat 7pm, Fri 11.30am
Approximate running time 1hr and 30min with no interval

Review :: do you see what I see?

Mix Media Drawings & Photographs by Thadeous Ikihega at Pod Space Gallery : 401 Hunter Street Newcastle.

Thadeous drawings are right up my alley. I love ink, charcoal and nice paper, so I’m rather bias. Thadeous commented about the importance of the paper and brushes used when making studies in ink. I agree and the quality of these pieces is enhanced by the Archival paper and goat hair brushes used by the artist.

Thadeous worked at David Jones in retail in another life and I guess the numerous, moody studies of the now vacant DJs store are explorations of that past existence, as well as very beautiful gestural studies of the architecture of that old shopping hub, now gone quiet. I love the gestural studies in neon of traffic at the lights. Who would imagine a traffic jam to be so vibrant?

The photographs are taken at night and the artificial street light scenes are hard to describe… lonely & beautiful. The photos remind me of quiet nights in the centre of town, the solitude of the empty city streets of Newcastle after midnight when pretty much everything is closed.

The images are raw and unframed, which gives an opportunity to see the work intimately, without the formal glass and frame barrier usual when art is exhibited.

For me this is what these works are; seeing beauty in the everyday and mundane, traffic jams, street lights and the familiar buildings of the decrepit town centre. I do see what you see, I think Thadeous. Newcastle’s landmarks, that we see every day as we wander or rush past the same buildings, trees and Hunter Street traffic, stopped at the lights. Thank you for reminding me. It is easy to forget to look with wonder, with fresh eyes. It is even more challenging to capture that mood and appreciation in a gestural study or digital photograph.

Whats on the cards…

January is coming to an end & I’m still relaxed from my break. I have no intention of getting too busy, which could lead to stress! I was burnt out at the end of last year & I will have to work hard not to get too busy : ) There is a lot penciled in for this year already, yikes!

Whats on the cards for 2012?

:: I recieved an Artstart Grant from the Australian Council for the Arts for 2012. This is a huge support for my professional practice. My grant will be used to Broaden artistic collaborations & further develop my studio practice & business.

:: Studio at The Pigeon Coop (Annie Street Wickham) I have ripped up the old lino & sorted my new studio space, all ready to get not too busy but very creative. I love this huge old building, the wanky art politics with the other artists & having my own professional work space.

:: Residency with emerging Environmental Artist Rosalie Vinicombe in WA.  Rosie & I plan to travel to high conservation value areas in WA threatened with development. We will create artworks for an exhibition at Kurb Gallery in Northbridge WA in December 2012. Congratulations Rosie for winning the Juniper Art Prize grant to support our residency & exhibition.:: Animation for Tantrum Theatre’s production of ‘Grounded’ Written by
Alana Valentin, in association with Australian Theatre for Young People. The play involves the grounding of the coal ship Pasha Bulka on Nobby’s beach in the heart of Newcastle. The Pasha Bulka was a very, very large red ship & inspiration for animations to be used in the production.

:: Solo Show in September/October at The Pod Space Gallery in Newcastle, NSW. I will show works created over the five years I have been based in Newcastle.