Coasting to Sydney

SHOTS of the South Coast made it to one of Sydney’s most prestigious exhibition spaces last week thanks to Perth music and travel photographer Jarrad Seng.

Denmark’s Elephant Rocks, Lake Hillier off the coast of Esperance, The Gap in Albany are some of the locations Seng visited to create The Edge: Margaret River and Beyond.

The images hung on the walls of the Hyatt Regency Sydney for a month, from July 9 to August 2.

While boarding a plane to Brazil, the photographer and ex-Survivor contestant told The Weekender he enjoyed his trips to Southern WA, armed with his Canon 5D and a handful of lenses.

“I travel all over the world in search of nature’s hidden gems,” he said.

“The truth is, there is so much to see in our own backyard that holds up against the world’s best.

“I loved the road trip down to Esperance; there’s so much diversity and rugged beauty in this region.

“I mean, when you think of the region, you might automatically conjure up images of pretty wineries and golden sunsets, and yes, that is all there, but I think the real heart of it is the raw nature.

“Crashing waves against the cliff side at The Gap, the breathtaking Lake Hillier tucked away in the deep south, the raw beauty of Elephant Rocks in Denmark … it really does feel like we live on the edge of the world.”

Seng’s exploration of the South Coastal rugged terrain was not his first tangle with a challenging scenario, having chased sunsets, artists and wildlife across the world to get the perfect snap.

He’s conquered early morning missions in the freezing cold, hunting the Aurora, rooftop heights, five-day Vietnamese cave hikes and a nudie run down Perth’s Hay Street to do what he does best.

“As of this year, photography has taken me to all seven continents, Antarctica being the final piece of the puzzle,” he said.

“It’s amazing to realise that a humble camera in my hand has taken me all around the world, from the plains of the Serengeti to the northern lights of Iceland.”

He said it was the craziness of photography that kept him going.

“Whether it’s backstage at a rock show or in the middle of the Namibian desert, I find myself most creatively inspired amidst the unknown,” he said.

“I mean, it’s often quite scary and anxiety inducing and very stressful, but that’s where the fun begins.”

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Artistic mecca

ALBANY’S historic York House on lower York Street has undergone a facelift and is now home to the city’s newest art exhibition space.

Blush Retail Gallery is the brainchild of local artist and businesswoman Angie Fryer-Smith and is an idea she has had whirling around her head for the past three years.

After the closure of her previous business in the same building, Ms Fryer- Smith said the building received eight months of extensive renovation before she reopened the doors last week.

Now, the lower level of York House has three sections, each with trapeze lighting, spotlighting, the capacity to hang artwork on the walls and sporting a fresh lick of paint.

Ms Fryer-Smith said her aim is to focus on Great Southern artists and showcase the “amazing local talent” popping up around every nook and cranny in town.

She said exhibitions in Blush Retail Gallery will rotate every four to five weeks and all artworks on display will be for sale.

“We wanted to keep the building in retail, to keep the street having a retail focus,” she said.

“I didn’t do much research before we opened because we just wanted to do our own thing, and keep the space free and simple.”

The gallery’s first exhibition is a collaboration between Ms Fryer-Smith and artists Cynthia Corr, Marjan Bakhtiarikish and Ron Baker, called La Dolce Vita.

The fitting Italian name ties in with Bakhtiarikish and Baker’s Mediterranean artistic influences, having both received professional training in Florence in their respective portrait and still life genres.

Ms Fryer-Smith is excited for the new gallery to become an art hot spot as well as an area for pop-up venues to setup shop.

“It would be fantastic for Albany if it became a food, wine and art mecca,” she said.

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Paperbark writer speaks

ALBANY author Dianne Wolfer took a ‘breather’ from her hectic writing schedule on Saturday morning to set up camp at Paperbark Merchants, chat to fans and sign
copies of her latest novel.

The Dog with Seven Names has been a three-year project for Wolfer, requiring hours upon hours of historic and anthropomorphic research to get all the finer details just right.

The story is told from the perspective of a dog caught up among the drama and fear in north-western Australia during World War II.

The little Australian terrier-dingo cross is the runt of the litter and after her first owner is forced to leave the pooch behind when evacuating, the dog travels with different people and gains seven different names.

“It’s been massive,” Wolfer said.

“There was so much research.

“And it’s been really interesting, because I didn’t realise how far south was bombed in Australia during the war.”

Ms Wolfer said she embraced her inner animal to see the world through the eyes of a four-legged fur ball while doing her research.

“I had to tell the story by scent and hearing,” she said.

“So, I had to smell the Pilbara and hear what the wind sounds like, because Dog would know the history through scent and smell.

“That was the fun part but it was hard, because I had to try and not make it cliché.”

Wolfer said The Dog with Seven Names was due for release in August, but was pushed forward a month, meaning she’s had two books published in three months.

“It’s really unusual, so I’m just trying to catch my breath now!” she said.

Wolfer said amidst preparing for her state-wide tour for Book Week and heading to Sydney to be a guest speaker for The Kids Book of the Year Event, she is ‘going back’ to a story she started 10 years ago to see where it takes her.

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Dance gong beckons

THE Great Southern is making waves in the dance industry with Denmark choreographer Annette Carmichael now in the running to take out Most Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance at the prestigious Australian Dance Awards.

Carmichael is up for her work The Beauty Index, which debuted at last year’s Denmark Festival of Voice.

The dance production featured 15 men from the Great Southern and was kept heavily under wraps until its reveal at the festival when it was performed at Denmark’s Old Mill site.

Carmichael is one of four shortlisted choreographers from across the country in the award category.

She said she jumped for joy after receiving news of the award and rushed to tell her loved ones.

“I was sitting in my pyjamas checking emails,” Carmichael remembered.

“I was feeling fairly exhausted after a few weeks of long rehearsals and then the news hit.

“I jumped up, cried a few tears of joy and ran and told my husband and kids.

“The exhaustion just melted away!

“Then, I had the happy task of sharing the news with all the performers and creative team. I think we were all a bit stunned.”

Carmichael said the shortlisting is a huge accolade for her group of performers and artists and said she’s proud of her team’s efforts.

“It’s a major achievement and means more opportunities for not only myself, but for the regional artists and communities that I collaborate with,” she said.

“I share this honour with my close collaborator and sound designer, James Gentle.

“We have created a number of performances together and this shortlisting tells us we are on the right path.”

Carmichael is continuing that performance path with the second and third instalments of The Beauty Index currently underway.

A Light Shade of Red is already in rehearsals and will feature young men and women from across the region.

It will be performed at the Albany Entertainment Centre in October.

Carmichael is also now on the lookout for 200 women to take part in the final chapter of the series, Chorus, to be performed in 2020.

“This trilogy of works has been consuming our lives for years, and making the awards shortlist just encourages us to keep going,” she said.

“Any women interested in being part of Chorus should subscribe to our e-news or go to annettecarmichael.com.au.”

The winners of the Australian Dance Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane in September.

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Ferraris trump Racewar of words

WORD of a Ferrari run up Marine Drive to the glamorous Garrison Restaurant left heated critique of the Racewars rev-fest floundering in its wake at a council pow-wow on Tuesday night.

At the City of Albany’s monthly Community and Corporate Services Committee meeting, Acting Council CEO Michael Cole revealed Marine Drive would be closed in “a couple of weeks” for a Ferrari time trial to test the tarmac for the introduction of a full-blown Ferrari ascent during Racewars 2019.

Amid claims by Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks that the council could do more to support Racewars, Councillor Rob Sutton nominated facilitation of the planned “Ferrari Club hill climb” as one instance of the City paving the way.

Mr Cole said City staff “had gone out of their way” to make Racewars a winner, including allowing high performance street machines to motor down the runway of Albany’s City-owned airport.

“The fact they can run down that strip on a long weekend – unheard of,” he observed of the Labour Day speed-fest.

But Alison Goode – who from 1999 to 2007 was the City’s first mayor – ripped into an economic benefit figure for Racewars provided by City Governance and Risk Manager Stuart Jamieson.

Cr Goode dubbed the $5.3 million economic benefit figure “nonsense” and “ridiculous” based on the 9000-plus people estimated to have attended the event.

“I don’t know what your magi- cal figure is, but it’s an insult,” Cr Goode told Mr Cole.

“I’ll take that on board, Councillor,” Mr Cole said before assuring the former mayor the figures were based on “sound modelling”.

A recommendation that the Council receive Mr Jamieson’s evaluation of Racewars 2018 – and con- sider extra cash or in-kind funding – was endorsed nine councillors to two, with Crs Goode and Tracy Sleeman voting against.

Pic: Albany motor enthusiast Joe Baker’s sleek 1986 Ferrari Mondial 3.2. Photo: Grace Jones

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Swing kings rule

A FULL house, a roaring encore and a standing ovation proved the rumour mill right – Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings could be Albany’s next ‘big thing’.

The teenage band, consisting of Ayres on lead vocals and guitar, Bonnie Staude and Mollie Hare on backup vocals, Bryce Taylor on trumpet, Anna Leach on saxophone, Hunter Ewen on trombone and Jeremy Staude on drums, blew their audience away on Saturday night with a knock-out performance of their debut EP and various swing and jazz covers.

Despite the various crowd interjections calling for Ayres’ inner Elvis Presley to surface – which he revealed on-stage at WAAPA’s Radio Active concert last year – the budding superstar kept true to his original work and favoured swing and jazz genres.

‘In Love With You’, ‘Unless It’s With You’ and ‘I’m In Love’ proved a massive success with the audience, with each song receiving a tidal wave of applause and showcasing the multi-faceted talent that Ayres offers.

His crooning voice set hearts of all ages aflutter and brought back the nostalgia of first loves, lost loves and forever loves.

He did not falter throughout the entire performance, and along with his band’s additional fun banter, the EP launch was everything a person could ask for in a swing show.

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Busy Harvest calendar

A BIT of every type of cinema is on the agenda next month for Film Harvest Great Southern.

The June calendar will wind up next week with Aurore on June 27, an arthouse comedy about a recently separated 50-year-old who rekindles the spark between herself and the love of her teenage life.

Lost in Paris will play on July 4 and tells the story of a small-town librarian who goes on a wild goose chase to find her aunt, who has mysteriously vanished after writing her niece a letter of distress.

Edie screens on July 11, and this drama stars an elderly lady who escapes her colourless English life for a climbing adventure up Mount Suilven in Scotland.

Brothers’ Nest is on July 18 and has been labelled a ‘dark comedy’.

The film follows two brothers intent on killing their new stepdad, who is about to inherit everything their sick mum has in a new will.

To wrap up July, Two is a Family will play on July 25.

It tells the story of a man whose A-lister life is turned upside down when his infant daughter is given to him by an ex-lover.

After failed attempts to return the baby to his ex, Samuel decides to raise his little girl.

His relationship with his daughter is tested eight years later when the girl’s mother unexpectedly shows up.

All films commence at 6.15pm on their respective Wednesday nights at Orana Cinemas.

Tickets can be purchased online at oranacinemas.com.au or at the box office, and cost $16 for adults, and $13 for seniors and children.

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Power of imagination

A HEARTWARMING tale of a tiny man with a love for writing will play at the Albany Entertainment Centre next week and director Luke Kerridge said audiences can expect a journey of the imagination, the heart and the full emotional spectrum.

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories follows Bambert, a teeny man portrayed by a puppet, whose only companions are the characters he creates in his stories.

He decides to send his stories out into the world on little balloons, in the hope they will find a home.

He asks the finders of the balloons to return the stories with a stamp, to show where they have landed, but when no stories return, Bambert’s hope fades.

Kerridge said the great gift of the Barking Gecko Theatre show is seeing the world through Bambert’s eyes.

“People who are a little bit different sometimes have the benefit of seeing things other people can’t,” he said.

“In Bambert’s case, I think he has some great insights to offer us about the beauty of moving slowly, the value of inner reflection and the power of imagination over reality.

“Bambert’s stories take you across the globe… some of them are bright and fun, some of them dark and melancholy, but they are all full of hope.

“Audience members have often described the show as an emotional workout!”

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was adapted for the stage by Kerridge and Dan Giovannoni from the original story by Reinhardt Jung, and features puppetry combined with real life actors.

Kerridge said he initially found the puppetry element quite challenging.

“I remember our early rehearsals felt so technical; it was constant problem-solving as the team tried to develop the style and perfect the physical score,” he said.

“However, over time this also became the most enjoyable part.

“To watch Bambert come to life in the hands of Tim Watts (our lead puppeteer) was really thrilling.

“I still marvel at how effortless it all seems now, but that really wasn’t the case in the beginning.”

For artistic director Matt Edgerton, Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was his first show with the theatre company.

“When Luke brought this story to me, I was incredibly excited by his vision for the show,” he said.

“I was the dramaturg on the show, which meant that I worked really closely with Luke and his co-writer Dan Giovannoni as they crafted the script.”

Edgerton said he was very proud of the result.

“It felt like it was a story whose central theme was the transformative power of imagination and art – the idea that even if you’re small, you can accomplish amazing things,” he said.

“These themes still feel absolutely right for Barking Gecko Theatre and what we’re all about.”

Tickets for the June 30 show at the AEC are still available and can be purchased through the box office or online via Ticketek.

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Beyond the Lyons’ den

ALBANY dentist and landscape photographer Mike Lyons sorted through 5000 images from his recent Iceland trip to find his select few for his upcoming exhibition.

Lyons joined landscape and bird photographers for two workshops and explorations throughout Iceland in February and March and documented his favourite views through his Nikon lens.

He battled chilly winter conditions to find the “landscapes within landscapes” he was searching for.

“One time, we had an hour and a half walk across a glacier,” he said.

“But it was so worth it; I love photography and I love Iceland.

“I’d been there before in autumn, but I wanted to go back for winter because I really wanted to get into those ice caves, which you can only get to in winter.”

Lyons’ work has captured the Northern Lights, ice caves, wildlife and snowy landscapes, and each piece has a certificate to recognise its individuality and limited-edition status.

These works will be on display at Vancouver Arts Centre from June 29 until July 7.

“I printed them all myself, because I’m a dentist and therefore a control freak,” Lyons laughed.

“How are the colours? Do they look real? Because I’m actually colour blind.

“Some of them are six or seven photos blended, but I don’t like to do too much in post-editing.”

Many of Lyons’ photos were taken in hidden locations and of sections of landscape he said other photographers on his trip ignored.

“There was this beautiful waterfall and the light was hitting it, and so everyone was taking photos of that,” he said.

“But I looked down and I saw these sticks, and the guide said he’d move the sticks for me, but I said, no, I want the sticks! They are exquisite!”

His ice cave photos were also taken in places others dared not venture.

“The guide just said to me, go as far in as you can, and so I did,” Lyons said of his ice cave adventures.

“I was the only one who got those photos.”

Lyons has his sights set on Norway, Chile, Iceland, parts of America, Tasmania and the Pilbara next; some for a second visit, others for a new adventure.

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Going solo in Mt Barker

PLANTAGENET artist Heather Roberts has avoided doing her housework for a month to make sure all her paintings are ready for the opening of her first solo exhibition this weekend.

Simply titled Going Solo, Roberts’ independent display will feature wildlife depictions in watercolour, acrylic, pastels, oils and mixed media, and will be set up in the Art Chatter Gallery at Strike Me Pink Garden Centre.

She told The Weekender she is often inspired by her travels when creating her artworks.

“I’m quite passionate about saving the animals and I love gardening; I’m a very keen gardener,” she said about her flora and fauna pieces.

“My husband and I volunteered in Africa at a wildlife park and at a Thailand elephant rescue place, plus we went to Japan, so I get a lot of influence from there.”

Roberts said despite having exhibited her work publicly for many years, she is nervous about going solo for the first time.

“It’s fairly nerve-wracking, there will be so many people looking at what’s mine,” she said.

“But it’s exciting too.

“I’ve got about 25 different paintings, a lot which I’ve done in the past month, so I haven’t done any housework!

“My husband has helped out a lot and looked after me; he’s been very supportive.”

Going Solo will officially open this Saturday at 2pm and be on show until June 29.

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