be still

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Immediately, things feel lighter.

Tomorrow is the Brisbane Emerging Arts Festival. I hope that I have done enough of my duty to encourage you to come and see the festival, not only because there is a fine selection Brisbane’s spoken word performers, but because the whole program promises to provide something stimulating and challenging in its reflection of Brisbane culture.

The most recent and final get together with these performers has once again provided me with an opportunity to be grateful for the strong and vibrant arts community of which I am a part. Simon, Betsy, Scott, Liz, Tony, Meg and Ange have been a collective delight to work with and I am excited to see what your reactions as audience members will be to their work.

For my part, I am also grateful to acknowledge the genuine commitment and passion of Travis Dewan, the festival director. He has my utmost respect.

I also have the pleasure and great honor to be included in the program, although I will admit this has at times seemed odd. From this, I will take only an awareness that just as I critique power, I have always exercised the same strange selfish elements of power that benefit myself. As confused as this may sound, what I hope to understand in my role as a performer/curator and artist is how I too am a part of this dialogue of control and voice and representation, and to learn how to exercise this more ethically.

One element of the festival that I am really looking forward to is my ongoing collaboration with Betsy Turcot, which has been added to by the beautiful visual contribution of Chloe Callistemon, set against the dancers of the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts. While the work is not long, it deals with the story of Nuggets Coombs and Judith Wright as explored by two contemporary poets, myself and Betsy. The stories within it feel both gentle and passionately held – testament perhaps to the lives of poetry, intellectual rigor and community activism that were lived by both Judith and Nugget. Channeling their story has had its own strength and power.

I would be honored if you would join us tomorrow at the Judith Wright Centre between 6 PM and 11 PM.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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