We Bury Not Burn

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Commissioned for the Brisbane Emerging Arts Festival, “We bury not burn” is a work in a remix conversation of the works of Judith Wright, as seen through the lens of her long-secret love with Nugget Coombs, with incredible visuals from Chloe Callistemon.

Authored by Betsy Turcot and Eleanor Jackson, as The Belles of Hell, using lines and imagery from esteemed Queensland poet, Judith Wright, the work premiered at the incredible Judith Wright Arts Centre with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts in a dynamic spoken word and dance showcase of Brisbane’s creative talent.

Both Wright and Coombs were passionate advocates for the self-determination of Australia’s Indigenous people, and some of the secrecy that surrounded their decades long love affair related to their joint desire not to see this advocacy work undermined by social slander. As queer poets, Betsy and Eleanor were particularly attracted to this story of closeted love and developed a suite of works based on Judith’s poetry, the emerging narrative of Wright and Coombs’ relationship and their mutual love of nature.

Wright’s poetry is particularly noted for its use of bird imagery and local filmmaker, Chloe Callistemon used images of native Australian bird life to create a rhythmic and sensuous interplay of images that gave heartbeat and pace to this joint narrative.

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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