Okay, so let me start by saying this should have gone up on here at a few weeks earlier. I have just been way to busy (which is great) to be able to get some me time to write this (which is bad). We’re here now though so it’s all going to be ok.
A few weeks ago I arrived back on Australian soil after a whole month overseas exhibiting my work, performing my live show and researching my next major work. It was an incredibly amazing experience that I’m going to go into depth in now and share it with you. Too much happened to do it all in one post so today we’ll be looking at the storytelling and the exhibition in Edinburgh and then next week we’ll talk about a few other sweet things like Paris, Loch Ness and searching for my Scottish ancestors with my Dad and partner: Cloé.
So… Let’s start at the beginning, last year when on the ACCELERATE Leadership program in the UK I travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland and met Donald Smith from Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. We really hit it off over a coffee and I managed to speak to him about the work I am doing with my storytelling and we spoke about me coming back to Edinburgh for the Scottish International Storytelling festival in 2017. Which I obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
After a week of rehearsing with local Glasgow based cellist: Maya Burman Roy (who is quite frankly amazing), drinking Edinburgh bars and wandering the countryside I opened the Scottish International Storytelling Festival with my work: Lost Tales Live. It was one of the most difficult shows I have ever performed.
My work is, by its very nature, intrinsically tied to Australia. There are references that the average Scottish audience may not understand and this played on my mind throughout the rehearsals. At the beginning of the performance I removed my shoes, glanced first at Maya and then around the room at the packed theatre, I breathed deeply and trusted myself. I didn’t manage to get any pictures or video of this performance but stay tuned as there will be more exciting things coming up.
The performance was exhilarating. I perform the work with live, improvised cello. The musician and I finding a groove between their music and my words and somehow it just works. Magic happens. The audience received it well and I had many great conversations with people over the next week. The other storytellers at the festival had lots of amazing feedback.
Storytellers and the Storytelling festival opened my eyes to a whole new artistic world and it’s making an exciting impact on my work at the moment. In Australia, storytelling isn’t something that we really take seriously, over in Scotland and in Europe though it is a vibrant and incredible artistic movement with the power to create change in society. I think that particularly in Australia the storyteller and the artist have a huge role to play in the future of society, it’s all about finding how to facilitate that. More to come on this later…
As part of the festival I was invited to exhibit the paintings that accompany the live work. Unfortunately I was unable to bring the whole exhibition as the space just wouldn’t be able to fit them all.
I selected four of my favourite works from Lost Tales: Walking with Gods to tour with me to Scotland and Donal Smith opened the exhibition (and the festival) with speeches in front of the exhibition.
It was really well received, I spent ten days having great conversations with locals and international visitors to Edinburgh about my work, gods and the nature of culture in the modern age.
I also did some live painting in the festival centre on huge sheets of beautiful art paper. They were not my best work, I wasn’t using my normal medium of oils and canvas. It was an interesting experience though, painting in this amazing space in the centre of Edinburgh with tourists and locals coming in off the Royal Mile and speaking to me was actually kind of surreal. After the painting session I donated the rest of the paper and the paints to some local kids who had been watching me the whole time (3 hours of watching paint dry).
Well that is it for now for the exhibition and live show. Check out some more of the pictures below and hit me up with any questions you have!
Thank you to the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW for helping to make this happen, funding the project. And of course a very large thank you to Donald Smith and the Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland for engaging with me and my art in a meaningful way.