On Saturday September 10 2011, “The Rim” creative arts team of John, Dave, Sally, Huon and Honey travelled along the sweep of the southern edge of the Scenic Rim to help celebrate Birdweek at Mt Barney Lodge with painting and poetry workshops.
We were literally blow-ins, carried on a huge sou’westerly wind that barrelled through the region like waves of freight trains across Friday and Saturday.
It was the fourth community workshop for “The Rim” project and while it’s officially the last one with John and Dave leading the way with community paintings, we’ve all had such a great time we’re looking at how we can continue to work together, particularly within the 2012 Drumley Walk arts space next May. That would make it 5 community workshops and an important step in the Fibonnace sequence John tells us.
Our journey to Mt Barney on Saturday was an important and poignant one. Mt Barney, with its imposing, brutal facets is at the epicentre of the Scenic Rim region’s life or death fight against the arrival of coal seam gas exploitation. The mountain, in this era of shameless energy, resource and money rushes, highlights what is at stake.
Our living landscapes or a 10-year, non-renewable energy grab…family-run farms and local food or coal seam gas wells carving up prime agricultural land…immersive eco-tourism or multinational moonscapes…the rainforest where the Albert River rises and flows or poisoned waterways…
As we drove across this beloved country our hearts bled but at the same time we saluted the community and small business activists fighting this ‘david and goliath’ battle. At Beaudesert, on our way to Mt Barney Lodge, we stopped to collect 100 yellow triangle signs with “Lock the Gate – no coal or coal seam gas” to distribute at the next Beechmont community markets. These signs are beginning to dot the roadways of the Scenic Rim like bows on many of the old eucalypt trees.
Our host for this workshop was Mt Barney Lodge, a family-owned eco-tourism campground and lodge run by Tracey and Innes Larkin with their children Caitlyn and Connor. Each year in September they host a birdweek celebration to introduce locals and visitors to many of the beautiful birds of the Mt Barney area. The rare glossy black cockatoo is high on their agenda.
We set up our painting area in a protected, sunny courtyard in direct line of sight of the imposing Mt Barney. By 10am we were joined by Connor and Caitlyn and with Dave and John’s beautiful sketch laid out across the fabric, we began to paint.
Big blue skies and clouds first, mirroring the real life sky above us.
Then it was onto the yellows, oranges, reds and purples of the rocks and soil beneath the forests of the Scenic Rim.
Birds, mountains and boulders followed as some 25 people joined us at the painting tables during the day.
And all the while Mt Barney watched, its faces subtly changing as the light rounded and moved across the morning.
After lunch, with painting in full swing, Caitlyn, Honey, Tracey and Sally gathered at the poetry corner to capture words, ideas and stories about bird watching, Mt Barney, white settlement and Aboriginal heritage, language and even philosophy.
This became our most active poetry session yet with four wonderful poems emerging on the day from Caitlyn, Honey, Tracey and Connor. These are included further down in this blog entry along with Sally’s poem from the workshop.
Another highlight of the event was Huon’s spontaneous creation of the song “Hot Magma” on his acoustic guitar. As we painted the rocks and rifts beneath the Scenic Rim and John (aka the Rock Doctor) told us stories about how the region was formed geologically, Huon nabbed words and phrases and crafted a great song that we think the world’s geological community will take to its heart. Rock on…!
Stay tuned – Huon plans to record it over the September holidays and we’ll post “Hot Magma” on this blog for all emerging rock doctors to enjoy as soon as it’s available!
Our painting was finished by 3pm, well before the springtime sunshine dropped away behind trees and mountains. It’s the fourth community painting to be created during “The Rim” workshops and over 310 people have now participated in crafting this series of paintings.
School children, toddlers, young people, mums and dads, grandparents – painters of all ages have contributed to this beautiful body of work so far.
What a delight it is to be part of “The Rim” and share creativity and love of our living landscapes together through painting, poetry and now song.
Our dream of crafting a series of creative love letters to our landscapes is certainly coming to life.
On July 6 2012 our community exhibition will open at The Centre at Beaudesert. Between now and then:
- Sally will write a community story about the ecology and landscapes of the ScenicRim;
- Sally, John and Dave will continue to create individual art works that celebrate our regional geology and landscapes for the exhibition;
- The Yugambeh Museum will continue to plan the 2012 Drumley Walk and in collaboration with “The Rim” project, will create a 4-day arts space and artist-in-residence program involving indigenous and non-indigenous artists and writers, the Drumley Walk community and Elders;
- John, Dave and Sally will plan and organise the community exhibition and potentially a community publication.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to our community of painters and poets, the Ethos Foundation, Scenic Rim Regional Council and Arts Queensland – Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), Council’s EnviroGrant program, the Commonwealth Government’s regional arts program the Regional Arts Fund, and our partners Mt Barney Lodge, BOSS, BADCAP, Yugambeh Museum and the Drumley Walk, Goat Track Theatre, and SEQ Catchments.
For more information about “The Rim” community art and ecology program contact Sally MacKinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are our Mt Barney Birdweek Celebration poems…
The Art of Life
“The rocks were floating on the river of dangerous mud down
to the sun-sprinkled mountain where
rescuers saved a timeline of people of all
names and languages.
From a bird’s eye view a
squadron of rainbow lorikeets thought
it was glamorous.
And that is the ‘art of life’. “
(By Caitlyn Larkin, 10 years old)
One glance, one miracle
– a Spotless Crake!
Ray of hope!
Making circular rings
Above the canopy
And up the slope…
Mt Barney risen
A magma chamber
Large crystals of time
Both such a wonder
Elevate the day
Elevate the mind.”
(By Honey Clarke)
“Teamwork is personal
in the Scenic Rim.
The wildlife colours
(By Connor Larkin, 8 years old).
Rock and Place
Wind-blown, thistledown pilgrims,
we landed at your rocky home
to wonder about time
Heat, pressure, collision
formed your craggy soul
Laughter, listening, love
Magma music, friendship, hand to hand,
simple offerings sooth away the pain.
Shared journeys paint
happiness and history,
about our place with you.
Confetti of thoughts,
ancient stories flutter as
children’s wisdoms sing
beneath your magnificence of
explosion and gases
the trees and grass,
pockets of green comfort,
softening the flinty edges
of your spirit, more than rock
and more than place
we together call home
(By Sara Bruxner)
“Soar over this scenic
landscape of purpose
Spotless ancient resources
present with Yugambeh gliding
A bird’s eye view of pioneering possibility
leaves a swoop of farmland clearing
and cloven-hoofed opportunity.
Experiencing eclipses for two score years
soon clamourous populations accelerate the
Rim’s spiral into joining the
Flashes of wingbeat ideas.
(By Tracey Larkin)
Journeys of the heart follow
the full moon in
spiralling through time across
landscapes of love.
Quiet pink stories about
floating rocks in
elevate 200 million years of hot spots into a
marriage of continents that welcomes us inside the Rim.
Here, mountain romance inspires lovers to see
rare black crystals and glossy birds,
flying in federated rituals that
rescue rocks like whales from the hands of
On the sacred beach
a flock of flying fish sails in unison with the
We name the cauldrons of our lives, and craft
wreaths of chequered words to protect the
unborn children and speak for the trees.