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Perspectives, Issue #014--festival,workshops,Torres Strait, coastal freighter
December 20, 2009

"Perspectives" - Exploring the Torres Strait.

Well, I’m not much of a correspondent, am I?

Sorry to have neglected you for so long, but you have all been in my thoughts.

The Go Troppo Arts Festival organization was huge and left us all rather exhausted. However, with its fifteen separate events including eight exhibitions, Jack’s wonderful play and fabulous workshops, it was a highly successful enterprise.

Friends of the Festival and artists spent an enjoyable ten days manning the opening exhibition at the sugar wharf after the gala cocktail party, opened in style by famous actor, local, Diane Cilento.

Some of them amused themselves by writing haikus in between chatting to the many hundreds of visitors and watching reef boats glide by. Here are some samples –

Sugar wharf opening
Views sublime, music, friends, wine
No competition (Judy)

Here’s a red balloon
Wind blows it into corner
Where it rests – trembling (Frieda)

Fishermen, rods, lines
Boats churning through the channel
Fish quietly lurking (Lee)

Exploring the Torres Strait

Afterwards, to unwind a little, my sister and I took a trip on a coastal freighter that went north from Cairns to the Torres Strait. It was so interesting to watch the multi-tasked crew hard at work – all day and night-time as well.

We would stop for a rendezvous in the middle-of-the night, in what seemed like the middle-of-nowhere, to unload provisions for one of the isolated indigenous coastal communities or to take on board huge freezer containers of frozen prawns, destined for the southern and overseas markets.

One night I found myself wide-awake so went on deck to watch proceedings. Swarms of numerous varieties of fish – even a sea snake three metres long – were rushing about, drawn to the surface by the boat’s lights. A balmy breeze was blowing from somewhere and all around was inky blackness.

Such an atmosphere of history accompanied us on our steady journey between islands, strung like jewels around the rugged coast.

While the boat was in ports unloading its varied cargo we did some exploring, including a trip to the Cape York ‘tip’ of Australia and also to the abandoned settlement of Somerset on the Albany Passage, swift currents separating it from a cultured pearl farm on Albany Island. Many were the tales of shipwreck, piracy and romance from those wild days.

On Thursday Island we had hoped to visit the apparently wonderful Cultural Centre…but…it was closed, so that was disappointing. I had hoped to bring you photos and descriptions of some of the traditional and modern artwork from the islands. This is what we missed -

New additions

Keep your eyes open for some interesting additions to the site. In the New Year I shall be starting a special section showing various Australian art workshops available during the year.

If you run workshops yourself, please contact me if you would like to be part of this service. In the meantime, here’s an interesting series that Jude has planned -

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas season with family and friends – and a fabulous 2010.

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