Thoughts by Dr Annie Geard
A throng of quiet chanters walk carefully around a well, their umbrellas flowering in the grey rain. They circle the still, deep well humming together, moving at a measured gentle pace. Encountering and communing, linked by the thrumming breathe of song.
Our stories are European stories, the ones that came with our people whenever it was they came here. We don’t, generally, have a clear understanding of other cultures outside that canon – although perhaps we occasionally dip in to other cultural myths and constructs and become captivated by them. When Penny went to Korea she was suddenly immersed in an experience well out of her comfort zone, yet found people to engage with and befriend as well as encountering new stories and spirituality.
Its almost as if there are multiple parallel intersections of life lines. The formal approved spirituality of a nation, and the other spiritualities that run alongside it. People engaging with their own world of the soul, the pneuma. In a western context that seems to emerge in a sort of vague paganism of sorts and similarly in South East Asia it also seems to be animistic and attuned to nature.
This encounter has thrown into the series of works, here, some clear references to the women chanting around the well, but has also brought in some of the numinous into the local Tasmanian environment. Glimpses of bush, mysterious, inchoate and blurred race past us, or a flying colourful clothesline backlit by deep bush, remind us that often within metres there are almost impenetrable spaces, mysterious and dim. The bush here is not cultivated. Stand still in a garden up in the hills and the reality of cool dark understories are immediate. In winter its cold, frost-rimed; brief spring is lush and heavy green, and in the heat of summer there is the dry menace of fire immanent in every crackling scrub. Watchful spaces. Not necessarily friendly spaces. Sometimes welcome oases of tangled mossy bowers.