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Blue Fringe
Art & Literature Exhibition
2020 Collected Works
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Copyright © Blue Fringe Art & Literature Festival 2020 on
behalf of all artists and authors in this compilation. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording
or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher or
the Blue Fringe Art & Literature Festival Committee.
National Library Cataloguing-in-Publications data:
Title: The Blue Fringe Art & Literature Exhibition 2020
Subtitle: 2020 Collected Works
Other Authors: Blue Fringe Arts & Literature Committee
Subjects: Australian Art, Australian Poetry,
Australian Short Stories
Printed by Bennett’s Printing Katoomba
Design and Layout: Felicity Tonks
Photography of Art for Book: Livonne Larkins
Cover Art shows the ‘Packers Prize’ Winner ‘Together’
Sculpture by Katoomba High School.
This collaborative artwork by Year 8 ceramics class is a
response to the angst and mayhem brought by the bush
res and virus. Art is a uniting force. Making these
sculptures together is a cathartic experience.
The ‘Packers Prize’ is awarded each year for creative
excellence by the members of the Blue Fringe Committee
who are responsible for ‘unpacking’ all of the art entries
for the exhibition. This year’s award winner received the
honour of being featured on the cover of this book.
Art featured on this page is a portion of ‘In Bloom’ by
Michelle Brown, an entry in the Blue Fringe 2020 Art
category. The full piece is featured on page 86 of this
book.
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FOREWORD
We would like to acknowledge the People of the Darug and
Gundungurra Nations, the Traditional Custodians of the land
we know as the Blue Mountains World Heritage area, and we
pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging.
The 12 months since Blue Fringe 2019 have been like no other.
It is fitting then that Blue Fringe 2020 is a Blue Fringe Festival like
no other. Connections, community and creating have always
been a feature of Blue Fringe and this year it has been
especially important. Blue Fringe is recognised as an
important and defining festival, not only for entrants, local
business supporters, community organisations and the public
who enjoy the work each year, but also to keep the
conversations about mental health and well-being going.
The Blue Fringe Committee was determined that Blue Fringe
would go ahead in some form or other and as the months
passed, the move to a ‘virtual’ festival began. This vision has
been realised thanks to the generosity of the Blue Mountains
City Council who have funded this year’s festival in
recognition of its importance to our community.
As with the previous three years, this year includes a Youth
category with a focus on mental wellbeing and resilience and
in this time of virtual events, an online workshop was held for
young people with the support of our partner organisations.
As the entry date for art and literature entries drew closer, the
Blue Fringe community showed that
#artsnotcancelled and entries in all categories began to
arrive. This book is another first as it combines entries in both
art and literature which reflects the value of coming together,
of community and to mark a year like no other.
For all that is different in 2020, the amazing variety, depth and
creativity of entries to this year’s Blue Fringe Festival shines as
a celebration of the creativity of people with a lived
experience of mental health issues as has been the case for
28 years. In this collection we see reflections of the world
around us, hardship and pain, but also perseverance,
resilience and triumph. We are thrilled to present this
collection of art and literature and honour the courage and
generosity of all who entered.
The Blue Fringe Committee 2020.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Our sincere thanks and gratitude go to our dedicated partners and
generous supporters for 2020 who make this important event possible.
The Blue Fringe Arts & Literature Committee
Springwood Neighbourhood Centre Co-operative Ltd.
Belong Blue Mountains Inc.
Blue Mountains Women’s Health & Resource Centre
Stride
Committee Volunteers Karen Stevenson, Rhonda Santi
and Lee Mitchell
Our Financial Supporters for 2020
The Blue Mountains City Council
Our Long-Term Financial Supporters
Bendigo Bank
Mountain High Pies, Wentworth Falls
Richard’s Financial Services
Catriona Swan, Belle Property Leura
Our Community Supporters
Aunty Carol Cooper
Cheryl Tate in memory of Peter Markwick
Suzie van Opdorp and the Family of Maurice Brady
Varuna Writer’s House
Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre (BANC)
All the wonderful volunteers who have contributed this year and
every year to make Blue Fringe what it is today.
And most importantly, the artists and authors who so generously
shared their work for the 2020 Blue Fringe Art & Literature Festival.
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Thank you to our Blue Fringe 2020 judges for your time, generosity and care.
BLUE FRINGE JUDGES 2020
Colin Berryman – Blue Mountains City Council Art Award
A resident of the Blue Mountains since 1998, Colin has immersed himself
in its cultural and natural wonders, satiating his craving for life’s value and
meaning in the 21st Century. While on the surface a community sector
worker with NGOs and nowadays BMCC’s Community team, musical and
photographic pursuits have kept him sane and in contact with creative
and wonderful people.
Suzie van Opdorp – Maurice Brady Art & Literature Awards
Suzie’s partner Maurice Brady had, throughout his career as a community
worker, demonstrated a long-standing commitment to breaking down
barriers and had been involved in Blue Fringe and its predecessor,
the Adrienne Brown Trust, since its inception. Following his death in
2017, Maurice’s family established a Blue Fringe Award in his name to
encourage people living with mental illness.
Peter Minter – Literature Awards
Peter Minter is a poet, poetry editor and essayist who writes on poetry,
poetics and ecological philosophy. His widely published and translated
works include Empty Texas, blue grass and In the Serious Light of Nothing.
He was a founding editor of Cordite poetry magazine and teaches
Indigenous studies, creative writing and contemporary poetry at the
University of Sydney.
Lindena Robb – Art Awards
Lindena is a visual artist and creative facilitator. At 13, she received
congratulatory telegrams from Russell Drysdale and William Dobell
for winning a Sydney City Poster art competition! Lindena has a Post
Graduate Certicate in Social Ecology and Holistic Counselling. She has
been a teacher of ‘Creative Expression as Healing’ and she is passionate
about beautifying local environments with community art.
Merryl Watkins – Photography Awards
Merryl grew up in country NSW, studied at Sydney University and has taught
English, History and Drama. She moved to the Blue Mountains in 1998
with husband George where they raised their two sons. Merryl has always
loved birds and taking photos and lately the two have become a passion.
Photography is a way for her to connect with nature and restore balance.
Marlene Harrison – Sculpture Awards
Marlene has been involved in fashion and the arts for most of her life,
having worked in the fashion industry in Sydney for over 30 years, designing
and patternmaking. The creative environment and the people of the Blue
Mountains have been an inspiration for Marlene. She is honored to have
been asked to judge the Blue Fringe exhibition and was impressed at the
high level of the work submitted.
Saskia Everingham – Textiles Awards
Saskia is a textile artist, workshop facilitator and curator working in the Blue
Mountains. Saskia enjoys working with many different textile mediums but
her current passion is creating one-of-a-kind hand-felted products, hats
and bags. Saskia teaches workshops for kids and adults, writes and speaks
on textile related issues and is an advocate for the development of
textile art.
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COLLECTED WORKS BY CATEGORY
All work entered in 2020 has been included in this special printed collection and placed
in no particular order. Great care has been taken to represent the work as close to the
original submission as possible.
ART
Adam Mieth Untitled ................................................................................................. 61
Alan Bridge Integration ............................................................................................ 72
Alexandra Holmes You Are Enough - Reminders for when all hope is lost .................... 28
Andrew Norris Juxtaposition of the Fall ..................................................................... 60
Chae Peter Ruffo The Movement Of Greed ................................................................... 43
Christine Stickley Resilience.............................................................................................. 46
Christopher Derrick Ebenezer Church SA ........................................................................... 17
David Bryant At Least 4 Great NGO’s and many more yet to come ................ 121
David Santleben Wymsical Colour .................................................................................. 90
Emiko Seita Self Expression .................................................................................... 102
Emilia Gosling A Guiding Light .................................................................................... 94
Evie Johnstone July 2020 ............................................................................................... 99
Grace Coan Working From Home ............................................................................ 91
Harry Gersbach Give me my owers while I can still smell them ............................... 11
Henry Beckett Contemplation .................................................................................... 35
Janet Hollister Flowers from our garden .................................................................... 25
Jayke Burgess Get Loose Mary ................................................................................... 30
Jennifer Trezise Eight Out Of Ten Men .......................................................................... 26
Jessica Stevenson Ten ....................................................................................................... 114
Karen Stevenson Survival .................................................................................................. 55
Lachlan Berthon Please Don’t Give Up .......................................................................... 87
Livonne Larkins A Spoonful of Sugar ............................................................................ 22
Michelle Brown In Bloom ................................................................................................ 86
Misha Maddock Untitled .................................................................................................. 51
Monique Donaldson Queen Maarsda .................................................................................. 40
Nicki Basedow Walkabout to Calvary ........................................................................ 24
Olivia Cassidy Wylde Kayla ..................................................................................................... 96
Peter Ball Quayside (after the carnival) ............................................................ 18
Renae Puckeridge Lost ........................................................................................................ 58
Robert Perceval Jaguar .................................................................................................. 15
Sally Gersbach Before the Years .................................................................................. 42
Suba Bale Shadows of my mind........................................................................... 54
Therese Corbett Not Another Bloody Landscape ...................................................... 124
Tilly Jefferson Evie and her Blue Fringe ..................................................................... 33
PHOTOGRAPHY
Aalia Rayoso The hidden colour of nature .............................................................. 79
Alexandra Holmes 2020 behind the mask (Spirit IV) ....................................................... 113
Andrew Norris The childhood nostalgia of nature ................................................... 97
Angela Coppack I’m watching you ................................................................................ 29
Danielle Joy Golding Frances and her Art Group ................................................................ 45
Delilah Recovery ........................................................................................... 116
Elphus Mahariel one line, one colour, one needle at a time - I live .......................... 68
Graham Lonard Spring smiles ......................................................................................... 78
Helen Andrews What Lies Beneath .............................................................................. 32
Janet Hollister Endeavour Gardens ......................................................................... 109
Jessica Stevenson Living on the edge ............................................................................. 70
Karen Stevenson Pretty in Pink ....................................................................................... 126
Laura Barr Hope ................................................................................................... 106
Livonne Larkins Which Me Will I Wake With? ............................................................... 50
Michael Loughman Australia’s Alaska ............................................................................... 112
Michelle Murtha Changeling .......................................................................................... 56
Misha Maddock Supportive ............................................................................................ 82
Nicki Basedow Primulas ............................................................................................... 123
Nicolas Cooper Unlikely friends .................................................................................... 115
Peter Byrnes Guardian Angel ................................................................................. 120
Suba Bale Self Love ............................................................................................ 119
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SCULPTURE
Adam Mieth  The loose cannon .............................................................................. 100
Alexandra Holmes  Creating hope where once there was none ................................. 127
Karen Stevenson  Distorted Reection ............................................................................. 12
Katoomba High School Year 8 Ceramics Class Together ................................................. 36
Kit Wing Fu  We all wear it differently ................................................................... 117
Lee Mitchell  The Bipolar All Stars Watch Over Me  ................................................ 52
Livonne Larkins  A Heart of Gold ................................................................................... 83
Monique Donaldson  Menagerie ............................................................................................ 53
TEXTILES
Aalia Rayoso Buttery on Your Right Shoulder ......................................................... 64
Alexandra Holmes  You Are Enough - afrmations for when all hope is lost ................ 101
Ivy Grant  Everyone Needs a Betty ..................................................................... 38
Janet Hollister  After the last embers ......................................................................... 118
Jessica Stevenson  Mother’s Embrace ............................................................................. 108
Karen Stevenson  Burn ..................................................................................................... 103
Livonne Larkins  Lost My Head In A Book ...................................................................... 73
Misha Maddock  Buttoned ............................................................................................... 44
Monique Donaldson  Blue Gold Vest ..................................................................................... 95
POETRY
Abbie Payne  Sciamachy ......................................................................................... 107
Alexandra Holmes  Mr Dan .................................................................................................. 37
Bethany Evans  Permission to Evaporate ..................................................................... 23
Brian Bell  If I Was ................................................................................................... 62
Charli Crisford-Eade  The Forest .............................................................................................. 57
Chloe Flanagan  She is Water .......................................................................................... 34
Clair Duncan  Neither Here Nor There ....................................................................... 13
Geoffrey Thomas (Breeze) By Heart and By Hand ............................................................. 98
Glen Fisher  Stop hiding the faults ........................................................................ 125
Jennifer Trezise The Rooster Man .................................................................................. 76
Kate Santleben  2020 Snapshot: Blue Mountains ......................................................... 39
Kit Wing Fu   Anxiety .................................................................................................. 71
Lillie Hughes  The Beast .............................................................................................. 20
Livonne Larkins  The Grave of Broken Dreams ............................................................. 41
Louise Loomes  Divide your life into chapters ............................................................. 19
Lucy Hatton  Keys ....................................................................................................... 16
Lulu Joy  Take a Bough Mz Fizz ........................................................................... 48
Marita Schlink  A Day in the Life................................................................................. 122
Nicki Basedow  Freak of Nature .................................................................................... 65
Rachel Corrigan  Tonight ................................................................................................ 104
Ross Barclay Bridle  Behind the Mask. (of a Veteran) ....................................................... 14
Suba Bale  Memory ................................................................................................ 31
SHORT STORIES
Clair Duncan  The Phone Call ..................................................................................... 80
Danielle Joy Golding  The Actor walks in Again .................................................................... 59
Diana Harley  Bad Thing .............................................................................................. 84
Jennifer Trezise  The Rooster Man .................................................................................. 92
Kate Santleben  H & M and The Others ......................................................................... 47
Lillie Hughes  Dee ....................................................................................................... 66
Lucy Hatton  Clay ....................................................................................................... 27
Lulu Joy  Flaw To Ceiling Fan.............................................................................. 74
Marita Schlink  To be or not to be ............................................................................... 88
Rachel Corrigan  The Statue........................................................................................... 110
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IMPORTANT NOTE.
Some of the work in this collection makes reference to subjects that may be emotionally
challenging or triggering for some readers. A trigger warning appears at the top of the relevant pages.
If you are experiencing a personal crisis and need help or support, please contact Lifeline
on 13 11 14 or visit their website at www.lifeline.org.au to chat online.
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THE COLLECTED WORKS
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Give me my owers while I can still smell them
digital art 30cm x 30cm
Harry Gersbach
Art
My artwork explores the complex relationships that exist between nature and
technology, with a focus on the one between humans and the internet. The
artwork contains a photo I took of a ower, which I digitally altered in a way
that I believe corrupted its natural beauty yet simultaneously divulged some
new kind of beauty. The artwork’s title, which I appropriated from an album by
Blu & Exile, cryptically appears on the artwork in the Wingdings font.
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Distorted Reection
paper mache clay, acrylic paint 63cm x 24cm x 22cm
Karen Stevenson
Sculpture
As a teenager, and a constant battle with poor
body image due to constant bullying through high
school, I have created these voluptuous beauties
as a tribute to women and all their perfect
imperfections. How we people can sometimes only
see what is directly in front of us and not the true
person inside.
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Neither Here nor There
Clair Duncan
Poetry
Neither up in mood, nor down,
Neither old in age, nor young,
Neither fully grey, nor bottled blonde,
Neither secure in work, nor unemployed,
Neither clear of mind, nor cloudy,
Neither sure of foot, nor stumbling,
Neither here in the now, nor an eye on tomorrow,
Neither fussed by much, nor passionate,
Neither energetic, nor inert,
Neither rich in wealth, nor struggling,
Neither maritally blissful, nor terminally bored,
Neither committed friend, nor cut-off loner,
Neither super mum, nor absent mum,
Neither fully t, nor awfully ill,
Neither fully stable, nor unsound of mind,
Neither mentally stimulated, nor totally unchallenged.
Not Peter of Neverland
Just Patron of Neitherland
Capital: Ambivalence
Population: unknown and subject to change
Languages spoken: nonchalance and a dialect of uncommitted
Best known for: excellence in ‘limbo’
Currency: coins of indecision and notes of self-pity
Political Party: in the middle with left-leaning tendencies corrected by right-leaning
aspirations
Social Economic Status: middle-class by virtue of the timely payment of bills; will
never attain upward social mobility by virtue of an enduring debt
Main attractions: nothing of specic note – all aspects are a celebration of
mediocrity and thus accessible and palatable to most visitors and sightseers.
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Behind the “Mask” (Of a Veteran)
Ross Barclay Bridle
Poetry
Sometimes he is torn
Between the real world and his mind.
The ever-present cloud of fear,
Walking that ne line.
Often at his limit,
The angst of horror pending.
Life is easier in his “cave”,
Anxiety never-ending.
Fifty years, that constant fear -
Afraid of crowds and noises.
Still “at war” in daily life,
“Survive the day” - No other choices.
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Jaguar
acrylic on canvas board 28cm x 35cm
Robert Perceval
Art
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A
Keys
Lucy Hatton
Youth Poetry
A smile and laugh
With crinkled-up eyes
As she looks around herself,
Feeling as if she’s cloaked
In warmth.
Being here, she thinks
Will be easy,
Because I think that they
Already like me.
Looking behind,
She feels warmth
Seep
From her bones.
Into the cold of the world
She gazes.
They don’t,
They don’t like me here.
She notes this in her head
Of course.
Nobody cares
Enough to listen to
That.
Why would it be
Any
Other
Way?
She looks to the black
The bleakness
No longer glowing
With familiarity and laughter
And things that she needs.
Why
Would
They?
Why would anyone
Be here
With her
If they didn’t have to be?
She feels the cold
Seep into her bones
Instead,
Where there once
Was warmth.
Not
Any
More.
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Ebenezer Church SA
acrylic on canvas 40cm x 30cm
Christopher Derrick
Art
I lived in Walla Walla, NSW years ago. In the
1860s a group of people from Ebenezer in South
Australia relocated to Walla Walla, and they
took their church with them. I painted the church
there, copying an old picture I have of it.
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Quayside (after the carnival)
charcoal on paper 2020 90cm x 60cm
Peter Ball
Art
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Divide Your Life into Chapters.
Louise Loomes
Poetry
Divide your life into chapters.
Chapter one.
What do you remember?
There were stairs reaching to heaven and nuns in white.
Chinese buttons on silk pyjamas.
And something that broke that night
and made your brother cry.
Chapter two.
Ask yourself if it’s enough.
Is it enough that intentions were good?
That you meant no harm?
Were you wrong to pretend she didn’t exist just like he insisted?
Or that you cried silently to show that brave girls don’t cry?
Chapter three.
Take the day and show the moments that mattered.
The big moments of shame and the little ones too:
The day he pushed you away because you were too big for a cuddle
And too small to know he was wrong.
In Chapter four you wonder what to do with the rest that won’t leave you alone.
Because it’s the quiet moments that stir deep in the soul
And ask over and over and over
For your moment of absolution.
Like the day when Auntie Molly taught you macramé in a shared intimacy
passed down through generations of Irish women who said everything in the
quick movement of practical hands.
Poor white hands that must have felt familiar once or twice.
Poor white hands that were as deft with a needle as a tear that ran recalcitrant
down the cheek.
Auntie Molly who had asked for love in return but died waiting.
There’s a conclusion to be drawn somewhere – a point to be made, a resolution
found, an end written.
But it’s an elusive somewhere and never always in the introduction.
Introductions are a difcult fumble-about language or even no-language.
Conclusions are the point we get to when the words come and the book closes
in our lap.
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The Beast
Lillie Hughes
Youth Poetry
Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to violence.
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Slimy, black tentacles grab my throat
I see the beast,
I acknowledge the beast,
I feel the beast.
Slithering, midnight claws slash my wrists
I spy the beast,
I accept the beast,
I fear the beast.
Sinful, inky antennae trace my body
I identify the beast,
I recognise the beast,
I now become the beast.
The beast takes over my senses.
My vision is grey,
My sense of smell slowly diminishes,
My taste is weak,
My feelings numb,
My hearing declines.
I am a sh.
I am stupid,
I am trapped,
I am forgetful.
I am a bird.
I am annoying,
I am stuck,
I am short-lived.
The beast does not care for my pitiful thoughts.
The beast does not show sympathy for those who have sinned.
The beast refuses to share his true opinions.
The beast shall never reveal his true form.
He is a ghost,
He blends into the crowd.
He is a dead rose,
He dulls the ambience.
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He is death,
He does not smile,
Nor does he frown.
He does not cry,
Nor does he lie.
You can’t escape him
Not if you run,
Not if you hide.
Not if you cry in your bed,
Not if you show him to your friends who you conde in.
He doesn’t like it when you tell people about him.
He’s selsh,
He’s mean and he doesn’t care about you.
He forces thoughts into your head.
The screams become louder when you don’t obey him.
He’s angry at me, I know it.
He’s here with me, but he won’t show it.
He wants you gone, he wants you low.
He wants you dead, you will see Hell’s iridescent glow.
His tentacles surround you,
You’re his next kill.
He’s done with me,
But he still hasn’t had his ll.
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A Spoonful of Sugar
mixed media 40cm x 40cm
Livonne Larkins
Art
The day I nished my last treatment for breast
cancer, I was so relieved that I wanted to
celebrate by creating this. Everyday I travelled for
treatment I had listened to the Magic Faraway
Tree which was my spoonful of sugar that helped
the medicine go down. The spoon was my Mum’s
and I could almost hear her singing the song to me
so it had to be the centrepiece.
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Permission to Evaporate
Bethany Evans
Poetry
Long white toes curled into new grass like grubs,
distant eyes lifted to beyond.
Learning her own lost life,
her hum entered the earth
- gathered, then -
returned through her bare soles.
Intensity billowed, built through her body
burst from her opened throat, a melody
of mourning mounting to the heavens,
a rapidly rising column declaring her dispossession.
Shell shed in a shock of ecdysis:
exuvial self heaved off,
leaving behind her shame-lined skin.
A zephyr breathes, inhales
all she cannot voice, exhales
permission to evaporate.
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Walkabout to Calvary
acrylic on canvas 75cm x 60cm
Nicki Basedow
Art
I was inspired by the Cross and Aboriginal
painting as Aboriginal peoples are very
talented with their artwork.
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Flowers from Our Garden
mixed media 28cm x 28cm
Janet Hollister
Art
From my environment these oral paintings are taken
from the garden circling Endeavour Apartments before
the res in the Mountains had not made local danger
to us. The oral image using paint.
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Eight out of ten men
black pen, white pencil on grey mattboard 82cm x 100cm
Jennifer Trezise
Art
This is one of my drawings from Falling Through the Cracks, a series of works in which I
have explored the desperate, the forgotten, the no longer recognisable people in our
society. The invisible. People who have fallen through the cracks, as well as those who
have evaded and manipulated the ‘system’ and those who are deviously in hiding.
Although some of the faces might be recognised, they are devoid of names which would
personalise their identity. My subjects, although based on real people, are nameless.
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Clay
Lucy Hatton
Youth Short Story
O
Obedience. That was what I had been forced into; all that I understood. It was natural for me to
keep my head down, looking only at the feet of the people who passed me by as if I was dust
in the wind. Nothing I did was important enough to warrant attention, apart from whenever I did
something wrong. In those instances, it was as if they had grown hawk eyes; vicious, trained only
to seize the opportunity to strike. Yet, I idolized them as if they were the ideal models for my life.
I didn’t realize the harm that they were causing me, even though it was obvious. It was a whisper-
quiet sort of harm, like a bomb set to go off that grew hotter to the touch with every ticking
second. Perfectly engineered to be ignored, to be deniable. They smiled at me, but only when
everyone was watching. It felt suffocating, not being able to speak around them. A brittle trust,
halfway to breaking apart.
I would try and smother my presence. If nobody noticed where I was or what I was doing, then
surely, I wouldn’t get in trouble? That was what I thought, and naivety was seeping through. I
looked at the world through rose-coloured glasses, if only to protect myself from the criticism. I
wanted the two gures to at least open their arms to me, but they remained shut tightly. Locked
away under shells of scalding words.
And when I nally reached out to them, everything froze in time until the trouble melted away.
Then it wasn’t anyone’s issue but mine. They drifted apart from me, yet the words they had told me
rang so loudly in my ears, carefully crafted to work away at and erode my future. It was painful,
but I could never muster the courage and form the sentences enough to tell them how I felt.
As if I’d have wanted to.
Though they had never done anything but twist away themselves, there was always an adverse
reaction when I did the same: a sigh, an eye-rolling, a glance of ‘how could you do this to me?’. It
was hypocritical, but who was I to say anything? They were, are and will always be my superiors. I
watch, with bated breath, for the ticking clock to usher in my next phase of life. Maybe they won’t
seem to care so much?
I’m always looking to the future, but maybe I won’t have one. The voices continue to rattle around
in my skull, a relentless barrage of phrases from all ages. Slowly, I have felt that their positivities and
praises are fading from my memories. They aren’t demons, but they’ve surely done the work of the
devil in allowing my mentality to become like this.
I don’t know why. Aren’t they supposed to love me? Have I not tried hard enough? They’re pushing
the others to higher heights and leaving me to drown. Seaweed tangles around my legs, now, and
I’m only trying my best to breathe. Can’t they see that, at least? My skin reddens in their gaze for
a million reasons, and that is only one. Maybe they expect me to be ne, like the others in the sky.
I can’t really explain their thought processes. But I wouldn’t advise asking, lest they push anyone
else away as they have done to me countless times. I don’t want anyone to be hurt, which is why
I might seem a lot more concerned for the health of others rather than myself these days.
It wasn’t always the same as the present. Unfortunately, I can’t personally remember when they
were, but photos gleam in albums, telling of a better time. I look down at them sometimes
despite not wanting photos, detesting how I look, for veiled comments had been made on that
front many times and wonder when everything really changed. When they felt challenged by
me enough to react like this.
It was then, when I could form sentences to the extent where I could speak out against them.
But I think I’ve changed because of that voice. I’m not the golden child that I was; I refuse to
sit around and have them shape me to their idealisms like potters’ hands to clay. The clock has
ticked over, the bomb defused, the seaweed rotting away. That wasn’t who I really am; the world
has grown and changed around me, and I needed to adapt whether or not they wanted me to.
I need to be my own person.
After all, the fact remains.
Wounded animals will rear when cornered, and strength will nally nd its place in their bones.
27
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Difcult times call for desperate measures. Especially in 2020. We can easily lose hope,
the voice of self doubt can creep in, and we can end up feeling like we are just not
good enough. But we are, we always are. Even in our darkest moments. Even in your
darkest moments, you are enough. This work is a collection of real life reminders, real
reasons why you are good enough. Even when all hope is lost, you ARE enough.
You Are Enough - Reminders for when all hope is lost
pen on paper 37cm x 45cm
Alexandra Holmes
Art
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29
I’m watching you
photograph 45cm x 30cm
Angela Coppack
Photography
Sometimes i feel like this Perentie; that i am trapped
in my own nightmare. All I can do is watch others and
hope that I can emulate some kind of resemblance of
‘normal’ until I’m able to build up my own power and
begin to set myself free.
29
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30
Get Loose Mary
acrylic on canvas 40cm x 50cm
Jayke Burgess
Art
Finding a place for me to relax, let loose, challenging myself not to be
perfect, to laugh and be whimsy. Animals and silly makes me feel free.
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31
Memory
Suba Bale
Poetry
Millions of thoughts
all at the same time
Precious memories
Loved in Life
Honoured in death
Cherished in memory
Reecting on the energies of each interactions
Memories
Beautiful memories
Miss you
31
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32
What Lies Beneath
photograph 42cm X 28cm
Helen Andrews
Photography
In the 1980s I became interested in art therapy and have always
enjoyed photography. “What Lies Beneath” is a self portrait in response
to a camera club competition. The image is not a sele but a shell
consisting of two objects disguising my identity. While this may not fulll
the criteria of a self portrait I believe the image is surprisingly revealing.
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Evie and her Blue Fringe
mixed media 20cm x 29cm
Tilly Jefferson
Youth Art
I enjoy art because if it was a person it would deal with anything. When I’m angry, I
scribble with oil pastels to the point where they snap, when I’m sad, I draw as many
rain drops as the page can t, when I’m happy, I ll the book with unicorns to the
point where people start to become unicorns because I’ve run out of paper. Always
be yourself...unless you can be a unicorn.... then ALWAYS be a unicorn!
33
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34
She is Water
Chloe Flanagan
Youth Poetry
She is water, quiet and easy going,
Slips through your ngers without you ever knowing.
Whilst there are questions to be asked,
Answers she should nd,
She prefers her thoughts remain in her own mind.
Jet black hair streams past her eyes,
Plunging down deep, the perfect disguise.
Then silently slipping to the surface, so still,
Watching as others act of free will.
Reluctant to talk,
So eager to be heard,
How much can be said without speaking a word?
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35
Contemplation
watercolour paint on Archer watercolour paper 20cm x 27cm
Henry Beckett
Art
‘The painting is a copy of a Pre Raphalite work where the subject
is thinking about something other than what she is doing, she is
somewhere else even though she is there in the physical, she is gone.’
35
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36
Together
ceramics and sticks 20cm x 70cm x 80cm
Katoomba High School Year 8 Ceramics Class
Youth Sculpture
This collaborative artwork by Year 8 ceramics class is a response to
the angst and mayhem by the bush res and virus. Art is a uniting
force. Making these sculptures together is a cathartic experience.
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37
T
Mr. Dan
Alexandra Holmes
Poetry
There was a bloke named Mr. Dan,
He was a small and crumpled man.
He wobbled through this world alone,
Like something from the Twilight Zone.
Never one to blow his own horn,
He worked until his pants were worn.
And so he ew from room to room,
Riding an electric broom.
There he wobbled down the road,
Talking to Jim (that’s his pet toad)
Philosophising with the best,
Pausing by The Pigeon’s Nest.
So Dan and Jim, and the Barman, Ted,
Spoked of all the times they’d shared.
And after a pint of scrumpy mead,
He wobbled off to his next deed.
His broom would always start rst time,
And it could turn on a plastic dime.
With more horsepower than anyone’s car,
The cleaniest cleaner you’ve seen, by far!
Room after room after room after room,
Mr. Dan and his wobble and a ash of his broom.
With the “SPARKLE 3000” (way better than a Dyson)
He could clean the whole world, even vacuum a bison.
Mr. Dan is still working, some might call it hell,
But look at it sparkle, and it don’t even smell.
So when you’re out somewhere and you stop and you think,
Mr. Dan might be why the place doesn’t stink.
37
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38
Everyone needs a Betty
mixed material 30cm x 40cm
Ivy Grant
Textiles
This little lovely is for my Mum, Betty. All materials
are bits and pieces from her sewing table. Betty
displays a level of unconditional love, aceptance
and kindness that the world needs and when she
smiles it is like sunshine.
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39
2020 snapshot: Blue Mountains
Kate Santleben
Poetry
T
Triumvirate of re, ood and pestilence
Wuhan the origin of pestilence
Entire world affected
Nearer to home were the res
Then the oods
Year of 2020 with its repeating numbers will, we all hope, never be repeated
39
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40
Queen Maarsda
acrylic on canvas 60cm x 75cm
Monique Donaldson
Art
The royal tetrapod is a medicine creature and a symbol of healing
the primal core of our being. She is ancient and represents
intelligence even though she is a creature before the dinosaurs.
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41
The Grave of Broken Dreams
Livonne Larkins
Poetry
I
I try not to upset you, always careful with my word
I can’t even think straight, my world seems strangely blurred
Hateful words and raised hands, what does it help you gain
I can’t do this anymore, I’m tired of the pain
Don’t tell me it’s love that makes you do this to me
I can stand the pain no longer.. Please let me be free
Looking over my shoulder, wondering where you are
Are you hiding in the shadows, have I left the door ajar
Will I wake again to nd you standing by the bed
I can’t do this anymore, I’m so tired of being scared
Don’t tell me it’s love that makes you do this to me
I can’t stand the fear no longer... I have to be free
How can you use the child we made to try to make me stay
How can you hurt the ones I love, and throw their lives away
How can you stand beside the grave of pain and broken dreams
Oblivious to what you’ve done.. and ignore my silent screams
Don’t tell me it’s love that made you do this to me
There’s an emptiness inside me, I can never be free
41
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42
Before the Years
copic marker and Neocolor ii Aquarelles on hot press watercolour paper
34cm x 46cm
Sally Gersbach
Art
A self portrait based on an old photograph
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43
The Movement Of Greed
digital art print 100cm x 100cm
Chae Peter Ruffo
Art
The Movement Of Greed is my rst entry into blue fringe. I’ve always loved
art and only recently I’ve found a creative outlet in digital art.
43
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44
Buttoned
buttons and cord 40cm x 40cm
Misha Maddock
Textiles
Recycled jewelry attempt for fun and whatnot
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45
Frances and her Art Group
photograph 20cm x 30cm
Danielle Joy Golding
Photography
I have enjoyed photography over the years, although I’m also involved in the arts, this
real photo from an art group and the teacher on a visit to a gallery, I think this is quiet
artisitic and modern, thus I have selected it to be in Blue Fringe. It is a little avant guarde
if you look at the composition and darkness of the photo and arrangement and a little
sureal if you look at it as well. I am continuing with arts and photography, happy to share
this with Blue Fringe.
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46
Resilience
mosaic 20cm x 20cm
Christine Stickley
Art
We were walking along the ridgeline of the Upper Grose at
Mt Victoria some months after the devestating bushres there
earlier in 2020. Some of the trees were pitch black and the
ground was grey. It was like walking in another world, so quiet.
Bursting from the trunks of the trees were bright, soft, shining
leaves of red and green, brilliant in the low afternoon sun.
Green shoots were emerging from the parched grey soils.
My artwork captures a space between the still white-barked
Scribbly Gums and those blackened gums, where there is a
sign of new life blossoming forward.
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47
H & M and the Others
Kate Santleben
Short Story
H
H & M woke feeling peevish. Flicking on a screen, it showed native tribespeople going
about their business.
The right ears of the males suddenly rose upwards and slightly sideways to turn into
spinning black drills. Some of the drills pierced a neighbour’s hand; others became
pinned to tree trunks. The latter were left to continue drilling into the tree until the
tribesman expired. Asphyxiated perhaps. The sound of women screaming lled the air.
H & M swiped left and studied the sailors swarming up the ratlines to reef the
topsails. Zooming into the water slicked face of one sailor while toggling a wave to
come closer, the pretty face didn’t look so pretty now as it hurtled towards the sea.
Next came a city scene. Crowded; smoggy. Refreshing really after all that storm at
sea water. Towers came into view. One, then two. Twin towers you could say. Closing
in through the windows the worker bees became larger. Some were getting coffee
and donuts – the latter not good for their teeth – some were photocopying, some
standing around and talking, or sitting in their ergonomic chairs looking at screens. H &
M liked the duality of looking at a screen looking at them doing the same. One worker
bee was tucked away in a corner ofce playing a game against the computer.
With a quick glance at the sky, H & M saw a plane pierce the uffy clouds. A
laptop tap brought the plane and the corner ofce together. Wasn’t the result the
game player intended.
H & M turned to show The Others before turning back to the screens. Funny how
grief has momentary lapses of forgettingness. The last of The Others had gone. No-
one left to share ideas; no-one left to playfully refer to him as H & M or reverently as
High and Mighty. They’d all worked together for so long to bring about good. Penicillin
had been one of many successes and they’d relished its usefulness. Sad how nearly a
century later, it had become too useful and therefore at times useless. H & M longed
anew for those times to be restored.
H & M shrank thinking on how The Others would view the Brexit machinations. Even
the Australians on the other side of the globe were discussing it over their smashed avo
at cafes. An avocado blight would give them something else to think about. Many
of their ancestors had emigrated after the success of the Irish potato famine … The
Others wouldn’t have endorsed that blight either let alone what happened at Wuhan.
H & M noticed a screen showing a woman working from home at her kitchen table
with primary aged children sitting at the other end. The children were giggling over
craft glitter scattering on the oor. Zooming in closer H & M saw the card they were
making. They were edging the love heart with glued on multi-coloured glitter. Mother’s
Day? Birthday? Just because? The Mum looked like she was trying to ignore them but
her suppressed smile and blinking eyes gave her away. What was she trying to work
on? H & M saw calculations …. Covid survivor proles … immunisation trial statistics …
The Others would want her to succeed. H & M wanted her to succeed. A warm glow
suffused H & M’s being.
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48
TAKE A BOUGH MZ FIZZ
Lulu Joy
Poetry
DEAR GOD…
I searched for You high ‘n’ low In the dark In the light
I needed You! Your comfort wisdom insight
You were hiding! Tight-lipped! Not even a whisper?
What about a wink? An omnipotent nod?
But What About Me? Betrayed by My church!
My Trinity! My Tribe! How very odd?
My best friend said: “You’re too committed
too intense, too ….one of a kind”
Why did I “Seek the Lord with all my heart and soul”?
He didn’t mind! … “never mind”
All nothingness! All silence! My faith’s death knell!
Solitary connement… Bat Outa’ HELL?
T
The pastor’s wife I’m here to meet
Public place Picnic seat No Bible Beat
I’m here early at The Little Teapot Café
Hand-writing my Br..Br..Braveheart S..S..Say
She’s already here, beckons me,
I shrink I think “NOooo…. not yet”
She Storms Over …. Breathe….
I blink ‘n’ blink “Don’t be nervous pet”
I clutch her gift – a kids book she couldn’t resist…
…. Evangelizing …. so what is the moral gist?
Fiz the Flying Fox ventures far from home
Lost…. Scared…. All Alone!
Fiz’s dad, like God our Father… He’s here….
Always Near His Own!
…. My poem punches the air… in the mist…
… Fantasizing …. these here words a protest st!
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49
I return Fiz The Flying Fox to her
“This book’s for someone else! It missed!”
But not before I slip my Say inside….
My truth! I seal my fate! We kissed!
The Storm’s Over! …Breathe…
My journey is the antithesis of Your Every Word!
I’m IN-verted… OUT-lawed…
My faith is too good for… Yes…
Dare I say… Even You My Dear Lord!
No google map! No family tree! No heavenly home!
I back myself! I dare to go it alone!
No Hers ‘n’ His! It’s just me ‘n’ Fiz Just me! Just a Fizz?
It’s Me Me Me! Hanging upside down in this tall tree
Not a pathology! My very own theology!
My new holy trinity! Faithful ‘n’ Free!
WELCOME HOME FIZ!
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50
Which Me Will I Wake With?
photograph 99cm x 39.5cm
Livonne Larkins
Photography
She would lay in bed at night, wondering which
version of herself she would wake up with the
next day... In the morning, meeting her face in
the mirror, would it be a joy or a heartache. The
dreams of the night before lingered and helped
set the mood for the approaching hours. Happy,
sad, scared, hopeful, hopeless, inspired, excited.
Every day brought a new mood.
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51
Untitled
gloss coated pour in acrylic 40cm x 40cm
Misha Maddock
Art
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52
The Bipolar All Stars Watch Over Me
repurposed mixed media 65cm x 80cm x 30cm
Lee Mitchell
Sculpture
Mental illness can make you feel totally alone.
But we exist thanks to the struggles and sacrices
of those who came before us. Those who fought
against insurmountable odds and helped shape
the world we live in.
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53
Menagerie
porcelain 16cm X 25cm X 25cm
Monique Donaldson
Sculpture
This display bowl is a symbol of spring with its fun
creatures and long grass and mushroom. It was made
out of porcelain clay and red in the Blue Mountains.
53
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54
Shadows of my Mind
paint on canvas/scanned/digitally enhanced 31cm x 31cm
Suba Bale
Art
Shadows Of My Mind explores the
emotions and feelings. The interpretation
of this artwork is open in the hope it makes
it more personal and allows the viewer
(you) to decide the meaning. The artist is
self-taught in her creative process.
Survival (opposite page)
acrylic on canvas 61cm x 110cm
Karen Stevenson
Art
Inspired by the 2019/20 res. Many years ago I was trapped in a petrol
vehicle that was supplying a local CFS crew, re raging next to the old
4WD tapping on the window, melting the paint and trim. An image, a
moment that has contributed to my complex PTSD. Any re now creates
enourmous anxiety. The single green leaf represents my survival!
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55
55
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56
Changeling
photograph 16cm x 24cm
Michelle Murtha
Photography
Changelings are children stolen by fairies or
the fairy children that replace them. Here
the changeling searches for a place while
their appearance continues to mark them
as otherworldly.
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57
The Forest
Charli Crisford-Eade
Youth Poetry
57
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58
Lost
acrylic on canvas 90cm x 60cm
Renae Puckeridge
Art
When I painted this piece I wanted to expresses the feeling of being
lost or swallowed by our surroundings, a disconnection of reality but
strangely still connected to the universe. It is a space I often live in
and have somewhat learnt to manage.
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T
The Actor Walks In Again
Danielle Joy Golding
Short Story
There I am, minding my own business in my own sector, keeping to my own lot, where our dreams
actually do walk, in and out, and actually never stop.
From here I can’t see him, moving closer to the counter, can see and hear voices as he converses with
the shop manager, I move capitulated.
He has come again into the shop here, where my life and age have become precariously balanced
everyday, until done, himself, and my desperate balance of self, I am invaded by this profundity, what
desperate view of him, I venerate him anyway.
I am in my workspace, a rarity, what intrusion? What a well conceived visit,
Today, yes thankyou, but I admire him.
Such a brush with fame, as it walks into my line of vision, as it doesn’t really touch me, lost,
This character, I hope I’ve even seen his lms his repitoire, for the betterment of the Australian lm
industry, the Australian intelligentsia, some are actors that gather, partriotism, at best.
We assume the participation of our world, this centrication to the lm industry ,
Which year did he graduate from lm school? The dramatic institute of dramatic Art?
I can see he is a credit to the industry, I am proud of national emancipation,
And tell pray tell how does he happen to walk into our shop, our opportunity shop?
Humble and local? Into the room and into the mind, as hallucinations walk by in stark daylight on the
outside street, horses, spiders, the unnameable.
When the ladies but gasp and smile at him, I am attracted by sounds, but only frown,
But i have patience, and to say thankyou as I see him cross the lines that are barriers,
And there on the television, it is for us, to bear the enfringing copywrite of the corners of my mind,
engaging itself in reality.
For a minute I recognize something, the psychic said something, that he wants to send an image of
himself? I was attered and became curious , and that I had said something, social mores that have
been cured, there in need there is a connection, somewhere.
And my psychic remains adamant, that he wants to know me or what,
Merely in a minor role at present my grandiosity will later shine, enhanced,
I have travelled far to this day, I imagine or focus on dramatic looks, and on screen presence, he acts,
I play, he acts, etc.
Every role is a great move for him, hey , remember Jimmy dean? a similarity? Do you see?
I might have agreed with that when he threw his rags into the shop, then
Regretted and spoke to a group of mannequins, in the denim jacket, we were here as it was said,
The lines to history were read aloud, like Gorky Park itself.
I was attentive to every inch of movement, waited on him in vicitude, and visibility,
A dream an appealing visit? His directions to us to act upon,
What an actor, does and says and discards,
Laughter, it is good for a girl to work, I had just a job had just been employed,
And there was I fresh from college, catching up again on the Scene,
New and breathing from TAFE ?
And as I see he doesn’t know me, but I have had, visions again,
Late night acts on t.v., the. crew raid the situation, acts of salvation, and merciful gratication,
I don’t need a contribution I am needless , I am just watching the return of Oscar Wilde,
And society, would assume things, I see a dream, another train carriage, on the downtown trian,
A changeable reality? Or just a larger character ?
Into the shadows, as this serves as an introduction, the wealth of the character, gure, whom
I give correct homage,
Practically a Buddha, and the swans among us line up, and the highwaymen stand as well,
An innocuous meeting repeated ocassionally,
And expression or so regretted again, our demure ways have prevented us again.
Save me from this deja-vous.
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60
Juxtaposition of the Fall
digital art using Illustrator
33cm x 100cm
Andrew Norris
Art
As the sun sets on this age - I
shed a tear of what could have
been - of the good and the
bad within us all - to seek to
overcome has it’s bane - of the
damage done by what was
overcome - tends to prevail
what has been achieved - in
this place of reection - is the
juxtaposition of the fall
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Untitled
acrylic 41cm x 30cm
Adam Mieth
Art
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62
If I Was
Brian Bell
Poetry
W
Were I an artist,
colours palleted at my ready,
decades of practice allowing me
to portray visions beyond
the skies we all reach for,
canvas totally receptive,
I just might derive some fame.
Were I a sculptor,
ne concepts tooling my ngers,
able to chip unwanted particles from shapeless granite,
leaving gures wondered at and adored,
then I might achieve recognition.
Were I a novelist,
keyboard capable,
creating stories such that the whole world
stopped to second guess how my work would nish,
perhaps my name would grace magazine covers worldwide.
Were I a movie director,
honing stories and fashioning sets,
transforming clear lm to glowing memories,
reminding people of my work whenever a title is mentioned,
then I could be well remembered.
Should I become a great vocalist,
crisp notes lling the ether,
audience ever waiting to applaud,
hands deafening all within great halls and stadiums,
then I would surely be remembered.
Were I a great inventor,
taking worldwide problems into my hands,
nding in my imagination pathways to elegant solutions,
fashioning cures ready to patent,
that all may save time and energy,
there is a good chance I would be noticed.
And could I be a famed evangelist
quoting biblical lessons and paradoxes,
soothing sinners on their journey to the light,
hosting radio shows to comfort millions,
then my name might outlast my tombstone.
62
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63
Should I train and study in politics,
lead my country into unheard-of prosperity,
approbation surrounding my every move,
ashlights lling my public view,
then I may become more than a newspaper entry.
But, alas, I am but a oundering poet
the full stop after every great singer’s words,
the discoloured spot on every sculpture,
the poorly placed daub at the edge of every artistic canvas,
the false hope in every great novel,
the unread chapter in life’s bible,
the last but one attempt on Edison’s road to the light,
the election lost to voter ckleness,
the near-empty theatre in time’s eternal parade of movies.
Yes, just a poet.
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My inspiration for this artwork
is the traditional Japanese
Kimono and traditional origami.
The colour palette I used came
from a clip for a song “ Buttery
on your right shoulder” by a
Japanese virtual singing group
called Vocaloids.
Buttery on Your
Right Shoulder
mixed material
180cm x 100cm x 30cm
Aalia Rayoso
Youth Textiles
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Freak of Nature
Nicki Basedow
Poetry
Superwoman, you turned up the stars to shine brighter
You want to party, say "Life is cool and calculating"
Your existence smells like sweet perfume
People are all around wanting to devour you like a devil
Keep your spirit free from all lies spun from the web of desire
Everyone wants to be a superstar
Put on your cape Batman I want to see you y
Dont get caught out when the little things niggle at you by and by
Come down to my level Superman
Cryptonite will sleep for a while
Come feel my love Superman
Wonder woman where is your sting
With you and me this is how we relate
How does it feel to be a freak of nature
Always needing something to satisfy your soul
When water has washed you clean
Come sit beside your freak of nature
and learn from wisdom
Love what you wish
Love will set you free
Love is life's making.
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Dee
Lillie Hughes
Youth Short Story
I
I have a friend called Dee. She is quiet and often hides behind me when we meet new
people. Although she is lonely and deadly silent, she has a loud, cruel mouth when
we’re alone and she often makes me hide my face from the public. It’s okay, don’t
worry. She only does it out of love.
I have a friend called Dee. She forces me to stare at my meals until I feel sick, purely
because she thinks I’ve had enough to eat when I’m starving. She has good qualities
too, like how she makes me feel incredibly guilty when I stay in bed all day instead of
seeing my friends and family. It’s okay, though. She’s only looking out for me.
I have a friend called Dee. She sometimes twists my words and often, she manipulates
me and makes me think everyone hates me and no one cares. She hits me often, with
her black, slimy hands. She looms over me and watches over my shoulder. It’s okay,
though. She just wants me to be safe.
I have a friend called Dee. She talks about herself all the time and degrades me when
I open
my mouth. Her black eyes pierce into my skull until I’m screaming, but no one can hear
me. She says I have to stay quiet or I’ll start annoying everyone and they’ll all hate me.
It’s okay, though. She only does it so I don’t get hurt - she told me so.
I have a friend called Dee. She follows me all the time, noties me when I mess up and
do
something wrong. She yells in my ear when I say the wrong words. It’s difcult. No one
else can hear her but me. She must be lonely, and that’s why she projects it onto me.
It’s okay, though. She’s just being loyal to me.
Dee sometimes consumes me. She says I’m becoming her. She says I’m cruel and
selsh. She plants that black seed in my mind and watches her creation grow into
a tree. Its roots prevent me from speaking, from moving, from doing anyathing at
all. Staying in bed all day to avoid the construct of reality. Its thorns and branches
suffocate me, until I am craving that noose around my neck and that chair to fall. Its
vines trap my body so no one can nd it, they twist my friendships. That tree hurts me,
incinerates every sweet thought until it’s all ash.
Dee sometimes gives me a break. Dee leaves me alone for a few hours but then she
can come back stronger. I’m not sure where she goes, but she’s a huge, black mass
with no denition or beauty when she visits again. She orders me around, telling me to
write my miseries and forcing me to cry every night, numb myself, ignore the world.
Dee isn’t my shadow. Dee is me and I am her. She brings me down like we were never
friends. She makes me do things I don’t want to and she blinds me, she watches as I
stumble and scream in the sudden abyss. She smirks, she laughs, she pushes me further
down that hole. I don’t want to be here, it’s dark, cold and so so lonely.
Dee traps me. She places me into a cage and clips my wings. She makes me recite
Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to violence.
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lines into my veins until my own blood drains me. She keeps my imagination
running, she forces death and destruction into my brain. She pins me down and
stabs me again and again with her words, her knives.
Dee threatens to be the end of me.
Sometimes, Dee goes away. She lets me take my medication every day and smile
before I go to sleep. On rare occasions, I can proudly state that I am happy at the
end of a day. I can dream of the city lights and the iridescent glow of a beautiful
re instead of that frayed noose around my neck.
Dee is gone, she is gone for now.
Dee is dead, but I am alive.
Dee is me. And I am Dee. I am proud to say Dee is happy and safe.
Dee is my friend. She is going to be okay.
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68
Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to violence, self harm and suicidal thoughts.
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one line, one colour, one needle at a time - I live. (previous page)
photograph 21cm x 31cm
Elphus Mahariel
Photography
This is an explanation of why I have tatoos and what they mean
to me. It is an honest interpretation of my thoughts and feelings.
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Living on the edge
photography (CANON EOS1300D) 15cm x 10cm
Jessica Stevenson
Youth Photography
Upon an evening drive to Lincoln’s Rock, there
happened to be a uffy cloud forming in the distance,
quite resembling my mood. I remember clambering up
and inside a rock face, then sitting comfortably in the
crevice, legs folded as I watched the sun fade away into
the landscape among the mountains to the west.
I could close my eyes and feel the sun gently kissing
my cheeks goodnight, I felt encapsulated by it’s sheer
amount of platonic warmth and touch, something I
felt myself longing for. As the bright yellow star melted
away, so did my restless thoughts, nally feeling at ease
after a tough day.
The sky turned dour with dark, moody colours and the
twinkling stars reappeared once again.
What a beautiful way to end the day.
Canon EOS1300D
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Anxiety
Kit Wing Fu
Poetry
W
Watch the clock;
Time is running short
And distress has come to play.
My sting, your pain.
Fear death and change,
Of Danger, Ever-present
You’re dressed in ribbons and lace,
but I’ll Choke you with it
Throw the knot
into your stomach.
I am an impossible
puzzle to solve.
See through my veil.
as the world withers
and the parched leaves tumble
You’re frozen and breathless
Locked up within my grasp
as time slows down…
I am the ants
that crawl under your skin,
and the butteries in your belly
Claw at us with all your might,
but you’ll still be
restless
Shut out all your friends
as I restrain and cage you,
gift you sleepless nights
and phantom eyes
Watching,
always watching…
Panic
Attack
Drop dead
Fight back
Repeat
How long can you fake that smile?
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Integration
digital art created on iPad Pro using both the Innite Painter app and the Procreate app.
38cm x 38cm
Alan Bridges
Art
This artwork was created to express some complex feelings
that I was having surrounding my mental health.
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Lost my Head in a Book
paper mache over fabric 170cm x 150cm x 110cm
Livonne Larkins
Textiles
My Mum always laughed and said
that when I was reading a book,
I would lose my head if it wasn’t
screwed on..and I wouldn’t notice
anyway. She was right. When I
was reading, I was safe. I could be
someone else, go anywhere, do
anything. That’s what I love about
reading. It can take you anywhere.
It lets you travel without ever
moving your feet.
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Flaw To Ceiling Fan
Lulu Joy
Short Story
I’m bolting my ankles in…ahhhh that reassuring clunkk… I slowly uncurl, leaning my
body along the backboard. My feet begin to rise, my head tips back; I grip the side
handles …. the angle of me, the tangle of me, unfurls for the very rst time in fty
years. I’m upside down, nally! I’m slowly, tentatively, reversing half a century of
gravity, thanks to my inversion machine!
Phew! Space inside me, longitudinally, transcending, if only for a few minutes, all the
prejudice of being too tall for a girl. You see, I have the height but not the hormones
of a man! O, man! Completely upside down now, my plaits sweep the dust into swirls
on my oor. Depression and Compression, my chronic companions since my teens,
are both on their heads, dizzy, both discombobulated; AND I WISH I COULD STAY
HERE FOREVER!
I was a lucky, little Skylight, just once! Aged ten, at the Port Fairy Holiday Beach
Mission camp, Peter the Clown carries ME on his shoulders…. walking across… the
tight rope! I’m LOOKING DOWN at everyone LOOKING UP at me! I’m not scared!
I’m the shy showgirl! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m the Queen of the Castle!
I’m nearly 55 now, “medically retired” on a Disability Pension, my full time job
keeping my mind and body in sync! It’s Seniors Week and a free introductory class
is offered at Aerialize – a circus arts organisation. So I’m there with bells on! I’m
LOOKING AROUND this gigantic space at all the circus apparatus suspended from
the rafters…. I’m hooked! I’m in heaven! I’m home!
Just hold your horses, old girl! You’re designed to be sore! You’re destined to be
sad! Will that painful pair let you swing on THEIR MONKEY BARS? The Aerialize Youth
Troupe are here to assist the ‘golden oldies’… Mat and Eli are allocated to me… the
twirling twins who help me into an inverted star with my legs entwined in the silks, the
long curtains suspended from the rafters. Then I’m posing, standing on the trapeze
bar (albeit three feet above the oor)… on tippy toes. I’m thrilled to my back teeth!
From that day forward, I’m having a weekly one-on-one lesson with the best circus
skills teacher this side of the black stump!! Helen Lette… Let there be Light! Light
inside my body and light inside my mind. I even feel light! I can move and ex and
reach and stretch like I’ve never done before. Instead of well-worn pain pathways,
I feel suitably sore! Instead of fear and sadness and sorry-for-myself madness, I feel
strong and sturdy and sassy (?)… yes, sassy!
Helen introduces me to the aerial lyra hoop. She swings herself up into the circular
trapeze, lays her back along the bottom curve into the ‘man in the moon’ pose,
and I can’t wait to repose along this curvaceous hoop! I promptly decide then and
there to boycott the straight bar trapeze.
My turn to get up to the moon, into this circle... I lay the back of my body along the
curve and… I’m huge, heavy and hurting! I’m forced into foetal! Concertinaed into
this miniature clown curve, I’m back to Vulnerable! I can’t t in! I instantly hate this
apparatus for not accommodating me! Helen tells me there are bigger hoops for
bigger bods. PHEW!
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I’m basking in the morning-after glow of my rst time performing in Aerialise’s end
of term Student Show. I’m soaring! My past mental and physical blues are now
Rainbow Ribbons of Light and Length! My phone rings and it’s my sister. She’s saying:
“Dad’s dying! William, our dad, my soulmate, dies that night! I LOSE MY WILL TO GET
UP….FAR LESS MY WILL TO GET UP IN THE AIR!!!
Week after week, month after month, and it’s now year after year, I just can’t swing,
swirl or even hang upside down! I do get up… to attend every end of term Aerialize
show… in the audience! Term 3 Show, and I buy thirty rafe tickets in the hope that if
I win Helen’s free lesson, it just might catapult me into the air. Don’t dob on me, but
I’m in the back row secretly swigging red wines to anaesthetise my size, I mean my
sighs.
I do win a Swing Dancing (?) course! “Yippee” I think! My favourite music, and I’m
moving…actually, I’m dragging my feet across the oor. The syncopating swing
doesn’t even help my long body. It’s too pacey, too parallel, too partnered…
O I WISH I COULD GET UP IN THE AIR…
The Xmas Show rolls along and I’m there with Xmas bells on…mmm… in the audience.
My name’s called out… I’ve won a prize… an Aerialize Children’s Birthday Party for up
to seven kids. Helen tells me I can bring seven big kids if I want!
It takes me nine months to begin my party plan. Spring is in the air! I order a
customised aerial lyra hoop 110cm in diameter, 6cm wider than the biggest one at
Aerialize. In good faith, I book my party for my birthday – Sunday, November 18th. I
can’t feel any edgling impulse yet and it’s now only one week to lyra launch. WILL
GRIEF GROUND ME FOREVER?
On my round rainbow birthday cake in piped icing, it reads: LuLu Loves Lyrical Lyras!
With pump and pomp, Helen strips away the curtain… revealing MY AERIAL HOOP! I
climb onto the sponge mat and up into MY CIRCLE! Helen’s right there ‘spotting” me,
keeping me safe and sound as I twirl around.
Phew! I welcome the space and grace to learn at my longitudinal pace! I’m
showing off to my Inner Circle of Seven Big Little Kids – ‘woman in the moon’,
‘mermaid’ and ‘star’ pose.
I’m ready! With Helen, I’m so ‘Reddy’! “I am Woman! See Me Soar!”
I’M THE LONGITUDINAL SHOWGIRL!
I’M THE QUEEN OF MY CASTLE!
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The Rooster Man
Jennifer Trezise
Poetry
t
Trigger Warning: This written work contains child abuse themes
the dark surrounds the well-worn track
through bracken, thicket, razorback,
the thorn cuts through and tears the skin
of child tormented from within.
ne’er feels the wounds just surface deep,
more important just to keep
on moving through that pathway bare
to safety from the rooster’s lair.
to eiderdown and crisp white sheets
now oozing blood, heart’s racing beat,
the dark enfolds, her eyelids blink,
and muddy feet on feathers sink.
sneak out again as daylight breaks,
back to the house where mother waits.
only to repeat once more,
when father can’t get through the door.
a piece of string with door key
‘round her neck was worn.
her slippers never saved her
from the rooster’s scorn.
the old, gnarled jacaranda
provides memories innate
its branches cascade over
the worn palings of the gate.
above, the childhood treehouse
its oor with grey boards worn
solace from the danger
of the rooster’s scorn.
the little gate an entry
to the refuge, now rejects
with rusty lock and hinges
stiff with decades of neglect.
the weeds and vines entrap her
a barrier inane
why can’t she just get through there
to be safe and held again
in the arms of her loved neighbours
her protectors in the lane
who kept their back door open
through the dark nights and the rain.
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in the darkness of the night,
the cockerel lost his nal round
left wondering, as we always will,
what slayed the bird,
his feathers strewn with blood,
a fall from grace, a blow, a kill.
did his body make a thud?
was death preceded by a ght?
what was the nal awful sound?
dead as only dead can be,
the body swollen, tongue engorged and dry,
yet six more days in lifeless purgatory,
can one presume to ask the question, why?
what preceded his demise?
what did he do or say, to snap the nal straw?
what tipped it over, more threats and lies,
the rooster spread recumbent on the oor.
left to lie ‘til sunrise,
brought reality to roost,
the chickens in a panic, sanity reduced,
the single act, calamity, on the chook yard oor.
then, with the body carried off,
life was calm once more.
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Spring Smiles
photograph 20cm x 28cm
Graham Lonard
Photography
I have been putting color in my beard for many years now And found that
putting colour in my beard put smiles on peoples’ faces and helps put a
smile on my face as well I am an advocate for mental health awareness &
understanding and have an extensive lived experience which I share with all.
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The hidden colour of nature
photography 15cm x 10cm
Aalia Rayoso
Youth Photography
I am inspired by the world of nature and love to take
photographs of the details that most people miss in the natural
world. I wanted to convey the surprise of discovering the
complimentary colours found in the orange bug on the purple
and green lavender plant. I used a closeup shot and focus to
direct the audience’s eye and create textures.
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The phone rings. Argh, not now! It’s a local number – I should answer it, it might be mum.
‘Hello,’ I say, slightly put-out.
‘Hello. Is that Aaron Dunstan’s wife?’ A female voice, vaguely accented – European
perhaps - with a silky and even tone, each word gently and breathily enunciated.
Can I ask who’s calling?’ suspicion rising.
‘Are you Aaron Dunstan’s wife?’ that question again, reiterated patiently.
‘Can I ask who is calling please?’ my words are rmer now, authoritarian like the school
teacher voice I use with rude kids.
‘Priscilla Wiśniewski. I have a letter for Aaron Dunston. I’m at 12 Smith Road.’
I suddenly see the connection. We’re at 21 Smith Road and she has a misaddressed
letter for Aaron Dunstan who is, indeed, my husband.
‘Ah, I see,’ I respond, friendlier now.
‘Can you come and get it?’ asks Priscilla.
‘Could you maybe leave it in your letter box and I can pick it up soon?’ I suggest.
‘I can’t get to the letterbox.’
‘Oh, ok. We’re about to go out – I could pick it up if you like?’ In my mind, I see a
wheelchair bound woman unable to even get to her letterbox. But then there’s the
paranoid part of myself alert to a scam, or some sort of danger. Would I be accosted, or
was this silken-voiced female somehow associated with my husband? Will she inform me
of their long-standing affair? The convenience and coincidence of a lover just up the
road feeds my paranoia nicely. Fatigue and anxiety have been playing havoc with my
nerves and warping my perspective. Get a grip, woman!
The driveway is steep, and as I negotiate the slippery mauve blanket of fallen owers
it occurs to me that I have never really noticed the modest brown brick house at
the bottom. It is visible from the street but its lowered position beyond tall gum and
Jacaranda trees renders it almost invisible like a small child lost behind her taller siblings
in a family photo.
I knock and the voice from the phone now beckons me from inside the house, front
door already ajar. I enter a room lit only by yellow morning light pouring in through
rectangular windows. I note Priscilla’s thinness, her long, bony limbs, the scrunched-up
leg warmers bunched at her ankles, incongruous on the spindly legs of an octogenarian
in the height of summer.
‘Hello. I’m Carol.’
‘Carol Dunstan?’ she asks, the intonation on the surname.
‘Yes,’ I say with a small laugh.
Priscilla holds out the letter for me to take. ‘Thank you,’ I say, noting my husband’s name
on the white envelope.
The Phone Call
Clair Duncan
Short Story
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‘Thanks for calling about this Pricilla.’ There’s nothing more to be said in this strange
exchange, I think to myself as I turn to go. But there is. ‘Can I get you anything before I go?’
‘No, thank you. My daughter will be here shortly.’
‘What was she like?’ asks my daughter who has been waiting in the car. ‘Very nice and
very old – just like grandma up north, but skinnier and less talkative!’ I think about the
fascination with which my daughter looks at her paternal grandmother. Her wrinkled
face and her hunched body causes her to stare, not unkindly, and I can see her trying
to reconcile the decrepitude of another’s old age with her own visceral experience
of living in a young and vital body. Grandma Edna is ensconced in ‘assisted living’
accommodation in the hot wok of the northern NSW town of Lismore, where the cloying
humidity supplants all other experience.
As we make our way to the shops for the weekly grocery shop, I am preoccupied with my
own shortcomings as a daughter and daughter-in-law, with how I have often failed the
older people in my life through my own self-involvement. By the time we leave the shops,
I have resolved to leave a note for Priscilla with my number on it and an offer of help, or
company, whenever she might need it and whenever I can manage it.
Priscilla is, indeed, receptive to my offer and what tentatively begins as a neighbourly
exchange of small talk blossoms into a mutually enjoyed meeting of minds. I can tell that
she appreciates the time we spend together, particularly since her daughter, Jayne,
visits less frequently. Priscilla is reluctant to discuss this turn of events, so I imagine there
has perhaps been a falling out of sorts. Aaron has been less than supportive in my desire
to spend time with Priscilla and tells me that I should be minding my own business when
I return from one of my little visits and canvas any number of reasons behind Jayne’s
increasing absence. I despair to think that a mother-daughter relationship may be
souring. My relationship with my own mother has gained strength, and Aaron has an
uncomplicated connection with Edna. His upcoming trip to Lismore to visit her sees him in
good spirits which is unusual because he tends to dread any return to his hometown. He
laments that it’s nothing like it used to be during the golden days of his childhood.
Three days after Aaron has left, as the last of the day’s heat nally drains from the house
like a receding tideline, the phone rings. Argh, not now! It’s not a local number – I should
answer it, it might be Aaron.
‘Hello,’ I say, slightly put-out.
‘Is that Carol, Aaron’s wife?’ A female voice, vaguely accented – European perhaps -
with a silky and even tone, each word gently and breathily enunciated.
‘Can I ask who’s calling?’ suspicion rising.
‘Is this Carol?’ asked pleadingly.
‘Can I ask who is calling please?’ my words are rmer now, authoritarian like the school
teacher voice I use with rude kids.
‘Jayne Wiśniewski, Priscilla’s daughter. I’m here with Aaron and he needs to talk to you.’
I hear mufed voices before Aaron’s breath is suddenly in my ear.
‘Aaron? What’s this about?’
‘Carol, I’m so sorry, but we need to talk.’
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Supportive
photograph 80cm x 60cm
Misha Maddock
Photography
Cat’s... being supportive
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A Heart of Gold
ceramics and metal 20cm x 18cm x 20cm
Livonne Larkins
Sculpture
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold. The idea is
that in not just embracing aws and imperfections but highlighting them, items which
have mended are more valued. I believe this idea is true of the human heart too. But
once mended, it needs to be free to live and love and break again, or there was no
point in putting it back together in the rst place.
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Bad Thing
Diana Harley
Short Story
S
She picks up a photo album from the pile and opens a page at random.
She pulls out one of the photos.
She sees a time past, happy smiling faces, youth, vitality, hand-holding and love.
So much to look forward to. So much to hope for. So much to live for.
She feels the joy of that time.
And then, like so many times before, she feels herself tumbling.
Falling into the hole. The big, black hole of despair and sadness.
Facing, once again, the division of time that has been held in her head for years.
The “before” time.
And the “after” time.
She looks again at the photo in her hand and automatically allocates it to the
“before” time.
The time before the bad thing happened.
The time before her world fell apart.
The time before she wanted to kill herself
The time before, when the future held such promise and such hope.
The time she didn’t really realise how lucky she was.
She’s not going to tell you what the “bad thing” is. Sufce to say that this bad thing
turned her life upside down, pushed her into the abyss of depression and self-
loathing, goaded her with guilt and sadness, deprived her of precious time with her
family and her world.
At the very worst of it all, she remembers driving her car into town, with her 2 year old
strapped into his child seat in the back. Fat, salty tears seeped from the corners of
her eyes.
The road was straight and long. Decades-old eucalypts lined both sides.
Her hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly that her veins bulged.
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Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to suicidal thoughts.
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She was a wound-up spring ready to explode.
In a bubble of silence, with the prattle of her son and the noises of driving no longer
audible to her in her despair, she thought about how easy it would be.
All she had to do was steer straight into one of those enormous gum trees, planted
years ago to commemorate the return of the brave soldiers of the surrounding district.
How ironic that the memorial to those who died so that she could live could now be
used in such a futile way.
She could just plough head-on into the girth of one of those trees, and the sadness
would stop. She wouldn’t have to deal with “me” anymore. She could be free.
Steely-eyed, she felt her conviction deep inside.
And then, her son spoke. He called her name - over and over and over again.
“Mummy, mummy, mummmmm!”
Her son’s insistent calls broke the spell. What right had she to deprive her beautiful son
of his life? And of his mother’s love?
She came back from the brink.
Once they had cleared the eucalypt memorial drive, she pulled the car over to the
side of the road, turned the engine off, and sobbed.
She gently places the photo back in the album. Caresses the plastic sheeting over its
face and slowly closes the book.
She thinks about how many other people have a “bad thing” in their lives - and how
they deal with it, day in, day out.
She thinks about how some people’s “bad things” are so much worse than hers. And
how so many innocent people suffer through no fault of their own and still, they keep
going.
And yet classifying a “bad thing” as a rst-world problem or as self-inicted doesnt
help.
Everyone feels their own.
She’s still dealing with her “bad thing”, and some days are worse than others.
But she’s been lucky.
A little boy’s voice opened her eyes.
And she’s still here.
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In Bloom
watercolour 72cm x 52cm
Michelle Brown
Art
The artwork ‘In bloom’ is an abstract work depicting native ora blooming
after re. It represents re-birth, renewal and the hope of spring and
represents coming through a great struggle and ‘blooming’.
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87
Please Don’t Give Up!
digital art printed on photo paper 33cm x 40cm
Lachlan Berthon
Art
This drawing captures the sense of there being someone there to reach out
to catch you even when you’re tired. Or could it mean more than that?
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I
To Be or not to Be
Marita Schlink
Short Story
In 2016 I was given the reason why I had lived with suicidal depression all my life.
My intuitive friend recommended an Integrative Medical practitioner.
I sought every avenue of relief. I explored past life regression, twelve step
programs, rebirthing, Gestalt therapy, PTSD seminars, sexual abuse survivor groups.
I self-medicated with a plethora of drugs. Dope to cocaine, barbiturates plus a
kaleidoscope of hallucinogenics and alcohol. Comfortably numb was my modus
operandum. I explored my intergalactic family. I communed with my inner drag
queen, my numerous sub-personalities while also swimming with dolphins, whales and
seals. I explored every avenue to attempt some kind of reprieve from my torturous
never-ending depressive episodes. They were not really episodes. They were a full
time, lifelong feature length movie. I sat in front of this MD. My intuition prompted me
to tell the truth.
In the past feelings of shame prevented me from full disclosure. I felt broken, an
imposter. I had never known what it was to feel okay. The MD looked directly into my
eyes,
“How can I help you?”
I broke down and sobbed. I vomited a litany about my mental “unwellness” with
machine gun precision. I told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The
truth of my several failed suicide attempts to my awareness at the age of seven
that I could not get out of bed. I was labelled lazy, lackadaisical and a life avoider.
I became aware of the label “depression” at the age of 33. I ticked every box in the
on-line survey “Do you think you are depressed?” I came out.
“I have depression”
All my close family and friends said
“We know”.
They told me that I would disappear for weeks, sometimes, months on end, with a
foot note saying
“Don’t worry about me I will be ok. Just leave me alone.” I recall a deep need for
reclusiveness. A sense of stillness.
I needed to navigate the uncharted territory of deep catatonic depression. The
outside world demanded too much. I craved to be sedated for a period of three
months. I learnt that we acquire a new blood stream in this time frame, so my
intuitive inclination was to lay low and just breath until I could surface yet again.
At my worse, I would stand in front of my bathroom mirror, in the early hours of the
morning rocking back and forth with my hands over my head. A waterfall of silent
tears accompanied an internal mantra ‘my brain is broken, help me, help me, help
me’.
At this nadir I would be close to admitting myself into a psyche ward. When the MD
heard my story, he quietly said that he had a good idea of what was going on.
It involved specic pathology tests. A two week wait. After a life time a few weeks is
nothing.
The next consultation delivered the news. I had a metabolic imbalance called
88
Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to drug use and suicidal thoughts.
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89
Pyroluria. It is a malfunction of the haemoglobin which manufactured pyrroles. The
pyrroles would devour my zinc, vitamin B6 and omega 6’s which are the precursors to
make dopamine and serotonin. The MD basically said that I had NEVER had the ability
to make these essential neurotransmitters. I had suffered at the hands of my own faulty
biochemistry. He compassionately said two statements that initiated my full recovery.
“You will get better” and “It was not my fault”.
IT WAS NOT MY FAULT.....
I had been a Naturopath for 22 years. I had researched every known cause for
depression. I had participated in every eating and exercise regime. Looked at
supplements and anti-depressants. I lead a monastic meditative drug free lifestyle.
Nothing sustained me for any length of time.
Psychiatrists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Reiki, Acupuncture, Floatation tanks and
massage. The ‘wounded healer’.
I felt like a failure, a broken human. I lived in the shadowland of shame and guilt. I
labelled myself a failed bipolar alcoholic cause I did not tick all the boxes yet had the
tendencies.
The MD mentioned if I had gone on ward that I would have probably been
misdiagnosed, given meds that could have tipped me over the edge. So, someone
somewhere was looking after me.
My wholistic approach and knowledge to health propelled me to seek out the
causative factors of the dis/ease to then apply the appropriate treatment. I walked
out of that consult and called my son. I told him the news. We both cried with relief
and joy. He was happy to hear that at last my suffering will be over.
I was prescribed the nutrients that my body needed. I have taken them daily since
and have not had any bouts of depression.
My whole life changed.
I have experienced excessive grief with ongoing changes and challenges that day to
day life offers yet have not suffered any bouts of depression.
I view any mental unwellness as a bio-chemical/emotional/spiritual imbalance that
needs to be individually treated.
I do not use the term mental illness because I feel we are all a little mentally ill at ease.
I now check in with myself. Setting boundaries. Allowing myself time out. Learning to
say “NO”. Meditating and surrounding myself with a tsunami of unconditional love.
Putting my hand up when I need support. My family, friends and my spiritual creative
life are my ongoing ballast. My passion for life, love, adventure and creativity are my
true North.
I am happy and I believe. If I was able to seek and nd answers and reprieve....
All is Possible.
Deep gratitude for all my “beautiful monsters”.
The journey has just begun.
Destination Unknown.
Eternally Grateful.
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90
Wymsical Colour
acrylic on enamel sprayed canvas 76cm x 76cm
David Santleben
Art
This work is one (the most recent) in a
series in my journey to nd purpose, whilst
living with majot depression. If it sells, all
funds go to Beyond Blue
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91
Working From Home
watercolour on paper 30cm x 30cm
Grace Coan
Art
I didn’t get time off during lockdown, but
if I had worked from home, I would want
it to look like this.
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92
‘I
The Rooster Man
Jennifer Trezise
Short Story
‘I rarely slept in my own bed. At night, if my father was out, I sat with my mother
in the lounge room with the door key in my lap, or around my neck. When we
heard my father’s car approach, after closing time at the pub or club, we judged
whether it was safe for me to stay, or better for me to go. Often the decision was
made if we heard a crashing of gears or the angry revving of the engine in his car,
or even if he successfully negotiated the brick gate posts without hitting them.
Sometimes my father would fall up the steps or against the front door, cursing and
swearing at neighbours, my mother, or some imaginary foe, and to the day he
died, I was amazed that the large glass panel in the door, etched with a sailing
ship, failed to smash. There are many references to the ‘rooster’ or ‘rooster man’
in my poetry. The rooster was real, but is also a metaphor for my father. I believe
that my mother would tell my father that I was asleep once he was inside, while
the whole time I was running across the back yard, through the back fence to the
Cameron’s house, or two houses down the street to the Jones’ house, to safety. I
would often wet myself with fear while running in the dark. The rooster chased me
as I ran through the chook yard to the back gate, and I was terried!’
‘Like many backyards, in those days, there was a small wooden gate into the
back neighbours’ yard. Beyond it and above it, there was a huge old Jacaranda
tree, in which there was a tree house, just a platform of wood, made by old Mr
Cameron, or Cam, as I knew him, for his grandchildren. The back fence was
covered in vines and often the little gate was hard to locate in the dark. The
Camerons always left their back door open for me and the bed made up in their
back room. My other refuge was the Jones’ house, two doors down our street,
but I had to climb into their side window over the sharp brick window sill to get to
safety there.‘
‘One sunny day when I was collecting the eggs from the chook yard, the rooster
ran at me, and as I kicked out with my shoes, one came off. The rooster sensed
my fear and attacked my legs with his beak and spurs. My father,who was in
the backyard, roared up to him and strangled him, hanging him on the fence
between two palings. I can still see him hanging there with his tongue sticking out.
It was a violent, traumatic event and his death an image that I will never forget
and for which I felt so guilty at the time. My father reminded me too, for many
years more, that if it had not been for me, that the rooster would still be alive.’
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Trigger Warning: This written work contains child abuse themes.
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‘When he was sixty-two,my father suffered an accident in the kitchen of his house,
to the back of his head, which caused a subdural haematoma to the brain, after
which he was maintained on life support for six days in hospital, before he was
taken off the machine and died. His death was thought to be accidental, but
mysterious and unexpected, so it was followed by a coronial inquest, which had an
inconclusive nding.’
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94
A Guiding Light
painting 30cm x 40cm
Emilia Gosling
Youth Art
My artwork is a piece to allow you to escape
reality. The calming scene of the artwork makes
you forget about all the struggles of the world
and bring serenity to the mind.
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95
Blue Gold Vest
satin 35cm x 65cm
Monique Donaldson
Textiles
This satin blue vest incorporates various stitch
and embroidery styles to illistrate various types
of sewing. It is a size 12 ladies and is an after 5
item
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96
This is a portrait study in lead pencil on art paper. It is of my best friend
Kayla. I have used different gradients of pencil to achieve affects like light
shade and outlines. I have free drawn this portrait.
Kayla
pencil on paper 40cm x 50cm
Olivia Cassidy Wylde
Youth Art
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The childhood nostalgia of nature
photograph 100cm x 35cm
Andrew Norris
Photography
This is the forest I called my playground for many years of my
childhood and life. After school we trek to this place, creating
a sense of place and freedom beyond screentime. The tall
gums skinned in pastel colours overlooked our campsite by
the re at night. The kookaburra swooping to snatch a snag
straight from the frypan for breakfast...The campsite has now
overgrow as if no one ever was there, despite the sounds of
suburbia creeping in from the ridgetops.
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S
BY HEART AND BY HAND
Geoffrey Thomas (Breeze)
Poetry
Some times
most times
any time at all
men might ght
for a good cause
but in light
of the night
by moon and starry sky
some lie
to bring honour to their plight
I by my side no friend at all
stand tall and alone
with truth my sword
honour for shield
and right my strength
Fear no man to death we might duel
As something inside tells me
I still have love, hope and faith
What children give at birth and rst sight
and the woman who shares them with me
these things I ght for, not land, not sea
as one day I go back there
this wonderful red eath with its green sea
til then I’ll strive to be every man and woman’s friend
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July 2020
pencil and paint on paper 29cm x 31cm
Evie Johnstone
Youth Art
This piece, created in July 2020, reects on the year of 2020 so far. From Covid-19 to
the BLM protests in the USA, it all comes together to create a harmonious piece that
commemorates the rst half of 2020.
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100
The Loose Cannon
50cm x 25cm x 20cm
Adam Mieth
Sculpture
Everyone is a loose cannon
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101
You Are Enough - afrmations for when all hope is lost
card and fabric 8cm x 10cm
Alexandra Holmes
Textiles
This is my rst fully casebound hardback book. It goes hand in
hand with my Artwork of the same name. This is a little book of
sunshine. Words of comfort, of personal inspiration, words that
can nurture, words that can elevate and bring hope. So even
when all hope is lost, you ARE enough.
101
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Self Expression
oil on canvas
31cm x 41cm
Emiko Seita
Youth Art
I viewed this artwork as a kind of self portrait - while it doesn’t look
much like me I found that I ended up depicting at least to myself a
lot of experiences I have encounted this year; feelings of loneliness,
change and gradual acceptance. Personally this work gave me a
physical representation of how I’ve learnt to feel and process many
things this past year.
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103
Burn
picture is dry felted and the vessel is wet felted 52cm x 32cm
Karen Stevenson
Textiles
This textile piece was created after the res of 2019/20. Holding it
together for my little family as the res approached, my Mum and
the responsibility of my elderly neighbour and her three dogs. My
neighbour died two days after the res were out. I admit now, I never
felt safe, my felted vessel is most denitely empty, my heart died for all
and everything that died.
103
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104
Tonight
Rachel Corrigan
Poetry
104
Trigger Warning: This written work contains reference to violence.
T
Tonight,
It will happen tonight.
There could be no more perfect a night than tonight.
The wind sings and trees dance as the rain taps a beat.
All those of a respectable life have retired to their homes and families.
Kissed their partner goodnight and assured their children that the boogeyman comes
not for them.
No dear children tis not your blood he lusts for this evening, but mine.
Patiently, I have waited for him.
The full moon has come and left and returned once more as I sit anticipating his arrival.
Estates have been settled, debts paid, and the parade of black clad mourners, with me
at the helm, have thrice carried my family home.
An answer has been reached, my voice a mere squeak among the roar of police,
lawyers, paparazzi and guardians.
Those great big lions who tower over me and listen not to my cries.
They wrap my life in a blood soaked bow and call it a day.
Job well done,
Cheers all round,
Let’s go home.
Don’t look back.
Never look back.
Yet still he comes for me.
Never satised until I lay with my kin.
With every breath I take, the demon in my shadow moves closer.
Beckoned ever forward by the beat of my very heart.
He stalks me waiting for the right moment.
Waiting for tonight.
He will come through my window and take a knife to my throat.
But I shall not die.
Along with the blood stains and scattered memories I inherited everything.
All of it meaningless in the face of an empty tomorrow.
But he lives for it.
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The sound of coin like music to his blackened soul.
It’s bright golden shine, the closest thing to light he shall ever look upon.
I will buy his hand and use it to learn his craft.
I will take his skills and by my blade,
Bleed out all who stole from me,
And lay my family to rest.
105
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106
Massimo was a little man who gave me
hope during a particularly difcult time in my
life. Having a creature so small and loving
in need of care and love gave me hope for
better things in the future. Feeling his fuzzy
fur and holding him close brought feelings of
love and warmth and helped me remember
how the smallest of things in our lives can
have such an enormous impact.
Hope
digitally enhanced photograph 35cm x 35cm
Laura Barr
Photography
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107
Schiamachy
(n.) a battle against imaginary enemies;
ghting your shadow
Abbie Payne
Youth Poetry
S
Start dead with a smile.
Rise to a teen with a mind that comes and goes.
“Proof says life would drag me here”,
His voice falling,
Unmanned by the anger in his eyes.
Spent ve years in the light,
Yet the wounded felt unease.
He had laughed about a veteran of endless dark.
“No more terrors for him,
Darkness rides farther each day.”
Today, numbing cold loves to ride the ancient youth,
Their excitement, empathy and desire,
Buried under the snow.
Reected in ice
Were the blue faces of ancient youth.
Their faces buried deep enough to interrupt the details.
As we grow old, we see snow.
Children see the snow burning.
Fire?
No, guns do not solve this.
Adulthood will cure them of their minds,
Only to be replaced with the insecurity of a bomb
And guns for hands.
A knife mounted the mind of the noble knight
Sworn by sin.
He killed
And the mighty shared a laugh.
Fighting the cold on two fronts,
They have no time to live.
They ght it.
Don’t feel it.
Sinking into peaceful numbness.
107
Yet despite a chill, some muttered
“Young knight, man-at-arms, what men freeze?
And how is it your re burns?”
Weeping, frowning,
They reply
“We’ve surely killed them by our own hands,
Innocent were they to believe that no men freeze
By the cold steel of their trusted society.
For the wood we burn is frozen bodies
And the angry re, red with blood.”
And then order and honour,
Careless and unwary,
The men-at-arms’ sorrow deepened
Feeling the darkness despite their re blazing.
Saddened faces discoloured by re.
The night’s sounds unman them in fear.
“Fire fool!”
The enemy’s a re.
No!
Society is the enemy.
We are society.
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108
Mother’s Embrace
mixed textiles 88cm x 72cm
Jessica Stevenson
Youth Textiles
I was inspired to create this wall hanging after the bushres of 2019-2020
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109
Endeavour Gardens
photograph taken by camera 21cm x 31cm
Janet Hollister
Photography
These photographs were taken by me at our environment
before landscaping had opened up the area to become a
nature reserve.
109
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110
The Statue
Rachel Corrigan
Short Story
T
There is a statue in the town square.
It was erected many years ago to honor the hero of my town.
It depicts a woman, tall, strong, with her hands on her hips and her head held high. Her
smile is wide but her eyes always look so empty to me.
The town has two days a year dedicated to her.
The rst is a grand festival, held on her birthday.
Music plays through every street, food and drink is shared with friends and strangers
alike, children paint their faces and dance in the town square, and those that were
there to witness it tell tales of her might and bravery
On that day, I curl up in my bed, pillow over my head and try to ignore the sounds of
music and laughter.
I hate that day.
The second day is one of remembrance, on the day she died. It is a somber day where
people gather in the square and light candles in memory of the woman who gave her
life to save their town. The people who knew her weep as they speak of the golden
eyed girl with a heart of iron and a laughter like church bells.
On that day I stand in my best black suit, by my mother’s side, hands clenched and
head lowered and try to look sad like everyone else.
I hate that day.
It’s the stories I hate the most.
I hear so many stories about the woman in the town square.
Stories of her bravery, of her kindness, of her quick wit and sharp sense of humor. It feels
like every person who ever met her has a story about her.
Nobody ever wants to talk about the real story though.
The story of the loud mouthed, over the top, reckless women, who selessly sacriced
herself to save her town and selshly left her wife to raise their son alone in a broken
home of loss and hurt and stories.
Stories of a brave hero, a loyal friend, a loving wife and an absent mother.
I think I hate her sometimes. When my Mother cries and locks herself away. I want to
yell, to scream at her “how could you abandon us? You left us behind and now we are
broken!”
I think I love her sometimes. When my Mother holds me close and hums the songs she
used to sing. I want to hold her hand, to see her smile and to tell her “thank you, for
bringing me into this world, for saving me and Mother”
Most of the time I don’t know how I feel.
I’ve heard every story, seen every picture, watched complete strangers laugh and cry
over her, but I don’t really know her, I never did.
There is a statue in the town square.
It was erected many years ago to honor the hero of my town.
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It depicts a woman, tall, strong, with her hands on her hips and her head held high.
Her smile is wide but her eyes always look so empty to me.
To the people of our town she is a brave hero, to others a loyal friend, to my mother
she is the love of her life but to me she is a stranger.
A character in a story I’ll never get to meet, and that’s all she’ll ever be.
111
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112
Australia’s Alaska
photograph 30cm x 21cm
Michael Loughman
Photography
Still a place to nd a Christmas Tree
112
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113
2020 behind the mask (Spirit IV)
digitally enhanced photograph 40cm x 40cm
Alexandra Holmes
Photography
I could have picked any one of a huge number of absolutely gorgeous shots I’ve taken
in the last nine months or so, but I realised that what people really need these days is
humour. They need to forget about the stresses of living under lockdown, and just laugh.
Especially if it’s with something totally relateable, like the roller-coaster of emotions
that one can experience in an average day. I had been planning this collection of self
portraits for a while, and nally nished it while suffering some HORRIBLE medication
withdrawals. These photos are a real and honest depiction of recovery.
113
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114
Ten
acrylic paint pens on canvas 35cm x 35cm
Jessica Stevenson
Youth Art
This artwork is of a friend of mine that lives in the USA, it’s
my impression of him ‘Tennyson’. He is a cool, hippy type
of person that loves to wear bandanas and writes his
own poetry, so I thought I would create this painting of
him through my eyes. Cool and colourful.
114
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115
Unlikely friends
photograph 27cm x 20cm
Nicolas Cooper
Photography
Two pieces of ice briey bound together that I
happened to capture. Despite all the chaos in
the world, beauty can be found if you take the
time to look.
115
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Recovery
photograph 100cm x 80cm
Delilah
Photography
This is my interpretation of recovery within the realm of mental
health. you take small step to make it through a long tunnel
and eventually you will make it out the other side.
116
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117
We all wear it differently
mixed media 91cm x 34cm
Kit Wing Fu
Sculpture
Each hat focuses on one mental health area: Trauma, Depression, Anxiety.
My creations aim to encourage open conversation, destigmatise, and raise
awareness by depicting possible symptoms to illustrate what it may be like
to suffer from these conditions. They also exemplify how easy it is for mental
illnesses to go unnoticed by an outsider at a shallow glance. However, hope is
not lost; as such, elements of hope are also embedded in the sculptures.
117
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After the Last Embers
mixed textiles 42cm x 50cm
Janet Hollister
Textiles
This textile piece was inspired by imagining what it would
be like in a heavy restorm. Stitched cotton suggests
the movement of seed pods and twigs blown in by the
catastrophic winds.
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119
Self Love
digitally enhanced photo 40cm x 51cm
Suba Bale
Photography
Self-Love is a constant choice. It is not a magical feeling that appears to you
one day. It is a commitment to your boundaries, your wellbeing, your mental
and emotional health and your body. Look for that magic in every moment.
119
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120
Guardian Angel
photograph 100cm x 50cm
Peter Byrnes
Photography
Bundy my dog keeps me safe and focused, she
provides me with emotional support and helps
me with my anxiety. She’s there to wake me up
and provide comfort to me when my dreams
are bad or the night is rough. She motivates me
to get through the day.
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121
At Least 4 Great NGO’s and many more yet to come
acrylic on canvas 45cm x 56cm
David Bryant
Art
Great passions with lived experience peer support workers
121
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122
A Day in the Life
Marita Schlink
Poetry
122
I
I wake with razor blade eyes
My insides escaped
Crackling sparklers on a bonre night
Hissing and spitting offering no reprieve
A darkened room
A welcomed sanctuary
Protection from the looming tasks
RISE
WASH
EAT
SIT
DRINK
WAIT
I pray out loud the phone does not ring
I plead for no knocks on the door
Oblivion is an easier option to tick in the box of life
Himalayan trek
Remember what the therapist said
“Break it down into simple tasks”
Rest when tired
Eat when hungry
I look at my bumper sticker life
Magnetic messages on the fridge
“REMEMBER TO BREATH”
That’s my fave
The irony forces a grin cause all I want to do is die
A cup of lukewarm tea and a slice of stale raisin bread
I give myself permission to breath
The outside world too severe today
I crawl my way back into the safety of the steel wool sheets to live to face
another day
Tomorrow......
October 5,2020
A memory of my days in the throes of unrelenting depression
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Primulas
photo on canvas 38cm x 25cm
Nicki Basedow
Photography
The pretty primulas in my garden.. nature is so
photographable. This is a photo on canvas ready
to be hung on the wall.
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Not Another Bloody Landscape!
acrylic ink on canvas 76cm x 30cm
Therese Corbett
Art
I’ve been aiming to abstract my landscapes, and not
succeeding very well. I thought I’d go for a complete
colour play abstract, and out comes another
bloody landscape (ha ha). Semi abstract landscape
succeeds nally. For my niece, Alexandra, on her 40th
birthday.
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W
Stop hiding the faults
Glen Fisher
Poetry
Why don’t they listen?
Can they not hear?
Cries out for Help The Anger, The Fear,
Do not they see me Alone & Afraid?
Fighting for justice
Until all debt is paid
They March before Beaks Contrite, full of remorse,
Their counsel paints them as Angels
They are Demons of course
The Tangible vs the unseen
Pieces slowly reveal
Broken nurse Broken
Some parts we heal
Irreparable damage
Validation a tool to set free
I hear you! I believe you!
That’s how it should be
Hearts in right positions
Yet still, nothing is heard
They can’t actually hear what we are say
Not one bloody word
I feel like I’m screaming Help,
I feel isolated & alone
I can’t sleep without ashbacks & my best friends a phone
Manipulating us to Redress
Which seems unjust & unfair
We need someone with ght
We need someone to care
54 years on this planet
Not found this person yet
As for the ashbacks I can never forget
Court rooms, Police stations
The disappointing results
In a system that’s broken
Stop hiding the faults
We learn present from past
From the home & the street
We listen then Amend So history,
Doesn’t repeat.
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Pretty in Pink
photograph 21cm x 30cm
Karen Stevenson
Photography
The photo is of a King Protea, stunning in its own right. After having a bit of a play with
the colour, it has become even more stunning. The picture was taken during a hectic
time in January 2020, res surrounding the mountains, on a semi smoke free day on a
daily walk with my two Labradors. I had passed it many times and not really noticed
it, probably due to the thick toxic smoke. The photo was meant to be taken! Sadly
the King Protea is no more, I have the proof it existed.
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Creating hope where once there was none
mixed media 16cm x 12cm x 4.5cm
Alexandra Holmes
Sculpture
This work is my rst proper scale model. It is 1:24 scale. It is a
lot smaller than my “magic cabinet” from last year, in many
ways, but the detail is sometimes incomprehensible, even to
myself. From the art supplies on the shelves, to the drawing
pad and pot of pencils on the desk, to the rubbish bin in the
corner - every painstaking detail is there. It’s actually a way
to channel my perfectionism. It also gives me focus, gives me
something to create, something to share. Hope.
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With thanks and gratitude to the
wonderful workers, volunteers,
supporters, sponsors, judges,
artists and writers of
Blue Fringe 2020.
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Blue Fringe booklet 2020 website version.indd 128 22/10/2020 12:57:25 PM
In Celebration of Mental
Wellbeing & Resilience
Make Your Own

5