Paper Cat Tales

Chasing My Tale

Posts tagged travel

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Kuru Alala + Adelaide - part 2 

This week is National Reconciliation Week. In Adelaide I stumbled across the ‘KURU ALALA - Eyes Open' exhibition by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers in collaboration with two visual artists who are immigrants to Australia; Columbian-born, Maria Fernanda Cardoso (link to website) and New Zealand born, Alison Clouston (link to vimeo). This was definitely one of the jaw dropping moments of my Adelaide experience. 

The sculptures in this exhibition made me laugh but I also found myself wanting to sing, cry and take a nap all at once… a breath-taking collection of artworks made in response to a series of bush trips and artists’ camps held in the Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara lands of Central Australia.

I don’t have permission to post pictures of the artworks but follow the links and you’ll see… if you have your Eyes Open that is!

It occurs to me that one of the reasons I had such a strong response to this collaborative exhibition is because it mirrors a little of my story…

In 2006 I spent a few weeks being hosted by the Congress mob in in Port Augusta in Adnyamathanha country. I was with two other whitefellas including my Taiwanese-Australian friend, who was practically adopted by some of the local elders they got on so well. 

I grew up in Wellington, Australia, near Dubbo in western New South Wales, where my Dad was an engineer and my Mum was a teacher at a local Aboriginal Primary School. My time in Port Augusta in 2006 was, in a kinesthetic sense, a reconnection to my childhood home. Something about the Adnyamathanha ways felt in my body like how I’d grown up in Wellington, NSW.

Me and my Mum - 2011 in Melbourne.

Even though I’m white as white (Anglo: German, English, with a bit of Welsh - and probably a few other places - heritage), something connected that I still can’t quite explain. When I returned from Port Augusta to my home in Sydney I could speak of my friend’s experiences but couldn’t speak much of my own experiences for many months. I may have been in ‘reverse culture shock’… I’m not entirely sure how that works, but it was clear I was grieving. 

It seemed extreme to me, as the girl who hates computers, but chose Computer Studies over Aboriginal Studies in High School when they were the only two elective subjects that weren’t full. How could I have suddenly become a champion of Aboriginal rights?

Relationships; living together; learning from each other, that’s how.

The ‘KURU ALALA - Eyes Open’ exhibition is on at the Jam Factory in Adelaide until June 7, 2012. For more information about National Reconciliation Week see the Reconciliation Australia website -

Filed under Reconciliation Art Travel Home Connection Family australia

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Adelaide Adventure - part 1

So it didn’t take me long to discover where it got the nickname RADelaide! Here’s the first installment of highlights from my recent trip to the gorgeous Australian city, Adelaide.

My fabulous hosts, Cathi and Ian, put me up for the week and for starters taught me how to enjoy fine Indian cuisine at their favourite restaurant, the beautiful, Clay and Coal in Goodwood road.

I was delighted a few days later to find myself at their friend, Josh’s launch of Magazine Gallery. Joshua Fanning is co-publisher of Collect, a magazine about people and places… “Small cities - and the small cities within cities…”

I tried in vain to snap a pic of Freddy the resident dachshund. This was as close as I got.. he was a fasty!

Filed under adelaide Radelaide magazine collect dachschund Indian travel place australia

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T2 San Francisco is a place on earth

Last night at Melbourne and Newcastle Airports I was remembering with fondness the colourful bliss of Terminal 2 at San Francisco Airport: the public art, the organic cafes, the musical instruments, the calm atmosphere, the hydration stations, the luxurious red arm chairs. Imagine if these kinds of nourishing surrounds and creative design ideas were applied to our public hospitals and other spaces where too often functionality reigns supreme, to the exclusion of fun and beauty.

This time last year I heard a lecture by Dr Esther Sternberg on the science of place and well being. The results of the research she’d been doing into the role of the environment, brain function and emotion in the healing process did not surprise me and would certainly not have surprised my friend and mentor, co-founder of Interplay, Phil Porter (the right left brainiac). However, the power that comes with having the scientific data to back up what many of us already know from experience is not to be underestimated. Government and business stakeholders are not going to be convinced to spend large amounts of money on art and public facilities without data that shows the scientific and financial benefits of doing so.

I’m excited to finally be sharing my photos from Terminal 2 at SFO earlier this year. It’s hard to convey a mind/body/spirit experience. The few times I’ve raved about this airport I’ve ended up feeling a bit silly. It seems my enthusiasm is perplexing to my friends: ‘Ah yeah, an airport, right… good’. I think the photos do a much better job of translating my airport inspiration, plus posting them gives me the opportunity to savor the experience!

The artwork above:

Janet Echelman
Every Beating Second, 2011
Powder-coated steel, colored fiber, colored light, mechanized air flow, and computer programming

Walter Kitundu
Bay Area Bird Encounters, 2011

Kendall Buster
Topograph, 2011
Powder coated steel tubing and greenhouse shade cloth

Seiji Kunishima
Stacking Stones, 1983 
Nose stone.

Mosaic Gallery
Window Display

A host of environmental sustainability efforts such as ‘Hydration Stations’ to reduce the environmental impact of producing and disposing of plastic bottles.

Brought to you by PaperCat

Filed under airport san francisco terminal 2 right left brainiac interplay public space art travel

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Stunning Inner West Sydney

I arrived home yesterday from LA to a cold Sydney morning but it soon warmed up and I was struck by the beauty of this city! All day I felt like a tourist, seeing familiar scenes as if for the first time.

The Bay Run near Haberfield

Glebe Point Road

Foley Park

I also made my first ever visit to the Orange Grove Organic Markets in Lilyfield and felt for a few moments as though I were back at the Venice Farmers Market in California buying flowers and fresh strawberries.

Filed under Sydney Orange Grove Markets Bay Run Glebe travel home

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Lost and found in LA

The other afternoon I went walking through the Venice Beach Canals. I was excited to be out walking and seeing the beautiful architecture and scenery again. It’s almost two years since I was last in LA. I took lots of photos and smiled so much when I saw this poster. Aurora the cat was found! Such a rare and beautiful thing to see proof of a happy ending for a lost cat. I watched a music video I’m in Here by Sia recently and learned that approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the States every year.

Having walked through the Canals once before, with a local, I was confident that I would be fine to navigate the streets. You guessed it, PaperCat found herself a little bit lost… OK a lot lost! I stayed reasonably calm but as it became darker and darker I started to freak out. I had not yet bought a sim for my mobile (cell phone) and as much as I was worried for my safety I was mostly concerned about how fraught my Lux* and her family would be. I once was lost but now I’m: Found! Found! Thankyou everyone for looking! FOUND Thankyou!

Filed under lost found LA rescue travel

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Fresh Flowers from my sister, Lux*

The day before I arrived in Venice, Los Angeles, my gorgeous ‘almost sister’ Lux* went to the markets and bought lots of flowers. She purchased each variety separately and spent ages arranging them into gorgeous bouquets like the one you see here. I feel so blessed by this. Fresh flowers completely transform the atmosphere in a room.

Now to explain the ‘almost sister’ reference. Lux* and I grew up together in country NSW in Australia so we’re technically not related but for a long time sister has felt like the best term to describe our relationship. Lux*is an actress, artist and accomplished fashion blogger. Stay tuned for a fashion post in honor of Lux Likes It

Filed under travel

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