Happy New Year

Juliet Sulejmani | January 13, 2017

Can you believe we are almost two weeks into 2017 already!! Wowza!

My first post for 2017 and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and say thank you for your ongoing support and love throughout 2016.

The beginning of a new year is a great time for reflection and appreciation for the year that has passed and also a great time to think about the future, or even just the year ahead.

Here’s a quick little exercise:
Make a list, write a journal entry or a blog post, recapping all the highlights and lowlights of the year past. And then think about all the things you didn’t have time for, or things you’d like to do more of, these things can form into your goals for 2017.

There’s always so much hate regarding new years resolutions or goal setting and that makes me kind of sad, mainly because from my experience and my friends experiences, I’ve learnt that they are actually an important tool in realising your dreams, and help to make sure you have the chance to do all the things you love doing in your life. I’m reminded of this quote actually,

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

It sounds kind of harsh, but I’ve found that even just having a vague idea of things to achieve, it keeps the important things in the top of your mind. If you know me I’m all for spontaneity and going with the flow, but looking back on 2016, I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t really take any trips or really spend any time doing things just for me, so that’s something I’ll make a conscious effort to improve on in 2017.

The other thing is, you don’t have to wait for a new year to make new goals, it’s just a good marker, but I have a friend who uses his birthday as his reflection point. My birthday is in July, so it’s pretty much the halfway mark, and i’ve found I can use that marker to see how i’m going and see what i need to do to get closer to the goals, or even if I need to set new ones.

Last year I set my self the 100 Challenge: Read 100 books, watch 100 movies, make 100 recipes and try 100 places. I didn’t really make it to 100 in any of the categories, but in each category I did more than I ever have in any other year. And so, yes, I didn’t achieve my goal, but I don’t really see that as failing. In 2016 I read 43 books ( the most I’ve ever read in a year before this was 20), I stopped keeping track of the others but the last numbers I tracked are: 37 movies, 32 places and 16 recipes.

I’ve decided I’m going to attempt this crazy challenge again this year. At a minimum I have to beat last years number, but I will try my best to achieve 100% in each category.

My other goal is to document each thing i read/watch/make/visit here in the blog, so that will take the form of either a dedicated blog post or Juliet Journal entry.

I’d love to know what challenges/goals/resolutions you’ve either set or would like to set for yourself this year, leave me a comment below so I can read them!

Jx

Travelling Far and Wide: My Reading Year in 2016

Baz Ozturk | December 28 2016

What a wonderful reading year it’s been. I read seventy-three books and there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. I liked most of them, and loved a special handful. I went to the slums and salons of nineteenth century France (Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac), and gained insight into the development of the bourgeoisie and its obsession with money and status, and its envy of the upper echelons of Parisian society. It’s a thrilling tale of revenge and one of my most memorable reads of the year for sure. One of the most simply beautiful novels I read was set in a small town in Colorado, America (Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf). It’s a minimalist love story about Addie and Louis, both living alone and lonely, having lost their spouses years ago, and getting on in age and finding solace in each other when they come to an agreement to sleep in the same bed at night to keep each other company. It’s breathtakingly moving. I also discovered an author who I’ll be reading for the rest of my life. She’s the Irish writer Edna O’Brien, whose trilogy of novels (The Country Girls, Girl with Green Eyes, Girls in their Married Bliss) blew my mind. They introduced me to the lives of Kate and Baba in a remote countryside in Ireland, and led me from their impoverished childhoods to their maturity into womanhood and tragic experiences of romantic love. If you’re jaded about love and relationships and want to validate your pessimism, look no further than O’Brien’s fiction. The books were banned in Ireland and actually burned in public. In a long repressed conservative Ireland O’Brien’s novels dismissed social conventions and openly explored the sexualities of its female protagonists, and it was a revelation. It changed the landscape for Irish literature forever after. As a feminist they were of particular interest to me and I gulped the books whole. Is there anybody better than the Irish at heartbreaking melancholy and lyricism? I think not. I also read a collection of poetry called Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate; it’s easily my favourite title of the year – I enjoy reciting it in my head, it’s so phonetically pleasing. They’re narrative poems so they can almost be read as short stories, and it was the most surreal and avant-garde literature I read this year. I’ll definitely be returning to Tate and reading poetry more widely in 2017. Where else did I go? I went to nineteenth century Russia (A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov) and got to know the charming and arrogant Pechorin. Easily bored and possessing a sharp mind, he finds life utterly absurd and can’t take anybody seriously. He goes on a series of adventures with the aim of satisfying his lust for easy pleasures and if he has to lie, manipulate and break hearts to get what he wants, so be it! I loved him despite his douchebaggery because of his wit and sensitivity and deeply sad life philosophy. I went to Nigeria and was immersed in the terrors of the Nigeria-Biafra War of the late 1960’s (Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). I went to Japan where a young man’s dream to settle down with his wife to start a family and live a cosy existence is shattered when she gives birth to a deformed baby. In this novel (A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Ōe) what’s being said between the lines is clear: “Think you’ve got your life in order and your plans for a happy future in place? The senseless tragic comedy of life will knock you down when you least expect it!” I went to Vienna and followed the Cinderella-like rise and then devastating fall of a young girl as the story developed from fairytale and descended into horror as it became clear this was a story about the social costs of the First World War on the working class (The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig). I met Adam Gordon, a young American poet in Spain, who tries to reconcile his art with its inherent fraudulence (Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner). It’s a novel about the distance between our projections of ourselves and who we really are. It’s a meditation on art and literature and the relationship of both to society and politics. What meaning lies in a so-called “profound experience of art” anyway? What is the value of art when compared to the mundane everyday things that affect and influence us much more powerfully? I think about these things constantly, and to have it be the subject of a novel was intensely pleasurable. I also met and followed the Englishman Patrick Melrose in three novels, part of the aptly titled series The Patrick Melrose Novels (Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope by Edward St. Aubyn). I don’t remember the last time I came across a character as insidious, fascinating and malicious as Patrick’s father David Melrose. There is so much psychological violence in these books (shockingly highly autobiographical) as Patrick’s brutal experiences as the child of rich, snobbish, creepy and deeply unhappy parents (volume one) lead to his finding solace in drugs as a disillusioned and depressed young man (volume two), and then his excruciating and moving struggle to do better by himself (volume three). There are two more volumes to go, Mother’s Milk and At Last, which I finally acquired recently (otherwise they would have long been read) and I can’t wait to dive back into Patrick’s world. These fictions and so much more that I haven’t mentioned have made 2016 a tolerable year for me. It’s been a year of awesome fiction, of beautiful language and profound feeling, of deep pleasure and intellectual nourishment. All seventy-three books helped me to continue to grow and mature and question everything; they gave me a lesson in humility and an education in empathy. And above all, they brought me closer to myself and my connection to the world. Bring on more of the same in 2017!

  • Follow Baz on Instagram HERE!

Who’s Afraid of Colour?

Tamie Cleaver | December 16, 2016

WHO’S AFRAID OF COLOUR?
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
16 December 2016 – April 2017
Free Entry

The thing I love most about art is getting that tiny snap shot into the minds and lives of artists, and the latest installation at NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, is a perfect example.

Who’s Afraid of Colour is an expansive exhibition featuring not simply artists, but women considered stewardesses of indigenous Australian culture.

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I recommend taking it slow, there’s so much to see, you’ll want to absorb every detail of every story behind each piece, from Lorna Napurrurla Fencer’s beautiful picture of looping lines “Yam Dreaming”, depicting the cracks caused in the red earth as the roots of the yam ripen and burst up through the ground. To Julie Gough’s confronting “Chase”, shown through a tea tree forest with tiny scraps of red fabric caught in the bark of the trees. Gough writes “Chase is about terror, flight, this is the unspoken space and place called Australia: terror nullius”. Terror nullius translates to nobody’s land, and notes how Australia was “acquired” through occupation.

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A highlight is Emily Kam Kngwarray’s six “Awely” paintings depicting striped body markings for Awely ceremonies, and her epic “Big Yam Dreaming”, both in black and white, a point not missed in an exhibition titled “Who’s Afraid Of Colour”.

Bruce Armstrong Sculptures at NGV Australia

Aside from paintings, I met Lorraine Connelly-Northey, a Wiradjuri artist who creates narrbongs (dilly bags) from scrap metal, shells and even her own hair. She told me these bags, traditionally used to carry food, are made to pass down from mother to daughter, and from grand-mother to grand-daughter.

Bindi Cole Chocka uses pictures of herself and her family with faces painted black to explore her own personal indigenous heritage in an exhibition called “Not Really Aboriginal”, a fascinating personal story accompanied by a separate piece titled “We All Need Forgiveness”. A video wall featuring 30 faces repeating the words, I Forgive You.

Bruce Armstrong Sculptures at NGV Australia

Award winning artist Jenny Crompton’s ethereal display of suspended sculptures will have you mesmerised, and her story of only discovering her aboriginal heritage at the age of 41 is intriguing.

Bruce Armstrong Sculptures at NGV Australia

At only 21 years of age, Claudia Moodoonuthi’s art works feel wise beyond her years, yet playful in their settings, including six vibrantly painted skateboards. And, as if to prove the artistic gene runs deep in Claudia’s family, head across the hall to see her ‘aunt’, Sally Gabori’s solo exhibition, “Land Of All”. I say ‘aunt’, Claudia is Sally’s great-grand niece, I’ll let you work that link out.

 

Image Credits:
Image 1:
Emily Kam Kngwarray Anmatyerr c. 1910‒96 Anwerlarr Anganenty (Big yam Dreaming)
1995 synthetic polymer paint on canvas 291.1 x 801.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by
Donald and Janet Holt and family, Governors, 1995 (1995.709)
© Emily Kam Kngwarray/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
Image 2:
Emily Kam Kngwarray Anmatyerr c. 1910‒96
Body paint: Awely 1993 synthetic polymer paint on paper 77.0 x 56.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the
assistance of Alcoa of Australia Limited, Governor, 1994(O.53-1994)©
Emily Kam Kngwarray/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
Images 3/4/5:
Installation view of Who’s Afraid of Colour? at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Pen, Paper and Prosecco at The Larwill Studio – Part Two

Juliet Sulejmani | December 07, 2016

On Saturday the 27th of November I hosted an illustration workshop in partnership with The Art Series Hotel Group. The workshop was held in The Larwill Studio Event space and we enjoyed some Prosecco from Brown Brothers, personalised cookies from Sweet Mickie and beautiful cheese and fruit platters from Smith and Singleton.

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It was an incredibly fun afternoon of creativity, creating and play and I enjoyed every minute of it, and everyone left feeling inspired and more motivated to experiment and create more in their daily lives.

In the workshop I focussed mainly on my personal experience with creating and illustrating and emphasised that it is our personal experiences, our own lives and also regular practice that ends up defining our personal style and approach to our illustration or art.

I encouraged the class to have a more free and relaxed approach to illustrating and to not be so focussed on recreating exact replicas of what they are drawing but to spend time connecting with an item, to notice and appreciate it’s beauty and all its characteristics. Then translating that into marks and gestures onto the page.

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What normally is a solitude practice for me, working daily mostly from my studio, was so much more magical, by being surrounding by other creative and like minded people, each creating their own works of art.

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The Larwill Studio also played a big part in the enjoyment of the workshop with the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the greenery of the parkland that surrounds the building and the inspiring space filled with artwork by David Larwill.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the workshop come to life and to all the beautiful people who attended and let me help inspire them to create more.

Jx

 

Links

The Juliet Journal: Book Wish List

Juliet Sulejmani | November 22 2016

Bookstores are one of my favourite places, I could literally spend hours in them. I like to see what’s on the shelves and tables, I like to check out the new books, and move along the aisles looking for something I don’t know I need yet. I made a post about a year ago, HERE, called ‘Looking For Answers’. I usually always find answers to things in books.

On my way home last night I made a detour to Readings Bookstore in Carlton. And so here is a list of all the books I took a photo of that I want to buy:

I ended up purchasing ‘Perfumes The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’, and then continued on my way home.

Jx

The Juliet Journal: Intro

Juliet Sulejmani | November 18, 2016

 

One thing leads to one thing that leads to another thing that leads to more things and more things lead to everything. Super fantastic, am I right?

 The more you think the more you notice, the more you notice, the more you understand, the more you understand the more you learn.

 What am I talking about? I’m talking about life. I’m talking about inspiration. I’m talking about ideas, knowledge, people, things, books. I’m talking about everything.

And that ‘s exactly it, everything. That’s what The Juliet Journal is about.

 It’s a separate ‘category’ on The Juliet Report, where I will share whatever thing I have thought or discovered on that day. No format, no rules. Kind of stream of consciousness. Just whatever is inspiring me or what is on my mind. So pretty much more of this. Cool!

Jx

 PS. Talking about one thing leading to another thing…earlier I was on Hetty McKinnon’s Website Arthur Street Kitchen, and then I read her journal, and then was inspired, and then emailed her to tell her I was inspired, and then further conversation lead to this (The Juliet Journal). Fantastic.