Grounded’s next stop in the tour: Goondiwindi, Queensland

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Some comments from Brisbane

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The Brisbane opening night

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In Glasgow

The Grounded exhibition, a commission by Glasgow Life for Festival 2014 Commonwealth Games, has also shown since at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, as a partner event at Hebtember Festival and at The Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, before beginning its two-and-a -half year tour of Queensland with Flying Arts Alliance.

Grounded continues its tour, with upcoming venues at:
Goondiwindi Art Space – 11 March – 22 April, 2017
Mundubbera Regional Art Gallery 5th May 2017 – 28th June 2017
Gladstone Regional Art Gallery 22 July to 26 August, 2017
Tableland Regional Art Gallery, Atherton Dec’17 – Jan ‘18

You can link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic. In brief, Grounded is the creative outcome from two residencies: one in the Gaelic speaking Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and one with Australian Aboriginal Nations of the central deserts. The images, sounds, audiovisuals and stories are set side by side to draw on parallels that cross continents and nations. Two places with nothing and everything in common.

You can book Grounded, and other great shows toured by Flying Arts here: http://flyingarts.org.au/exhibitions/exhibitions-by-request/

Feedback from the comments book in Brisbane can be viewed via this link: Comments from Grounded at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. And for a small selection of the feedback from the same show in Glasgow, during Festival 2014, Commonwealth Games, you can find comments here.

The Colour of Language arts educational project came out of Grounded’s showing at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Scotland.

The story of my night in jail in Alice Springs whilst on artist residency for Grounded, the subsequent lack of conviction in court, and implications of this story for the local Aboriginal population, can be linked to here. Then here for the court process following arrest. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, (Wadlu-gnana; Freumhaichte; Who Cares for Country) can be watched here

The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book 

Educational workshops run at An Lanntair Gallery in conjunction with Grounded can be viewed here and here.

Joe’s educational video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be read at Jim Gilchrist’s review or linked to here.

A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

A radio interview with BBC Radio Scotland Voices of the Commonwealth, which explores some of the concepts behind Grounded, is now available for listening to here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here.

The Grounded residency diary entries begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. This is a record of my thoughts whilst gathering the material. These thoughts and images inform the production but are not part of the final exhibition.

Some other sites that link to Grounded can be found here

Funder acknowledgements can be viewed here

The Colour of Language and the Grounded exhibition tour in Australia

draft swatches 19 March 2015 blog

The Colour of Language frieze is growing and now almost big enough to cover a wall at An Lanntair Gallery in Stornoway, with the latest additions by some children from Hazelwood North school in Gippsland, Australia. The Colour of Language arts educational project came out of Grounded’s showing at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Scotland.

The children from Gippsland have looked at trees, shrubs, flowers and earth and painted the colours that they saw and experienced. The words were translated into local Gunnai/Kurnai language by Doris Paton, and the colour swatches have been added by Joe to the growing Scottish Gaelic / Australian Aboriginal frieze

If you are connected to a school that might be interested in joining, please do contact me via this blog here.

Grounded is soon to start its growing Australian tour, hosted by Flying Arts Alliance, with the first opening at Dogwood Crossing, Miles on 24 July 2015 and then at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane on 30 September 2015 before continuing on a tour of regional Queensland and beyond.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition, a commission by Glasgow Life for Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, has also shown since at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, as a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, (Wadlu-gnana; Freumhaichte; Who Cares for Country) can be watched here

The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Educational workshops run at An Lanntair Gallery in conjunction with Grounded can be viewed here and here.

Joe’s educational video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be read at Jim Gilchrist’s review or linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

A radio interview with BBC Radio Scotland Voices of the Commonwealth, which explores some of the concepts behind Grounded, is now available for listening to here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here.

The Grounded residency diary entries begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. This is a record of my thoughts whilst gathering the material. These thoughts and images inform the production but are not part of the final exhibition.

Some other sites that link to Grounded can be found here

Funder acknowledgements can be viewed here

Grounded explored by the children of Ntaria

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The first colour swatches created by Leverhulme School, Isle of Harris

We are very excited that the Year 8 children of Ntaria school (Northern Territory, Australia) have joined in the Colour of Language arts educational project that came out of Grounded’s showing at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Scotland.

The children have looked at Western Arrarnta trees, shrubs, flowers and earth and painted the colours that they saw and experienced, and added the Western Arrarnta words. Their work will be exhibited alongside Leverhulme Memorial Gaelic School (Isle of Harris, Scotland) and Lional Gaelic School (Isle of Lewis, Scotland), and other schools that join in along the course of the project. I look forward to soon being able to post their work here.

If you are connected to a Gaelic school or Australian Aboriginal school, and you are interested in joining, please do contact me via this blog.

Thank you also to Greg who recorded the BBC Radio Scotland Voices of the Commonwealth interview we did in Glasgow during the Grounded exhibition at Festival 2014. The radio interview, which explores some of the concepts behind Grounded, is now available for listening to here.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition, a commission by Glasgow Life for Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, has also shown since at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, as a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

Educational workshops run at An Lanntair Gallery in conjunction with Grounded can be viewed here and here.

Joe’s educational video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be read at Jim Gilchrist’s review or linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

Some other sites that link to Grounded can be found here

Funder acknowledgements can be viewed here

More posts coming soon from Australia where the exhibition will start its tour in 2015

A Farewell in photographs

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It is not long now until we leave our beloved Scotland again for another few months. I have taken a few more photographs here as we walked the hills, moors and beaches, and the slideshow at the end of this post is my farewell to Scotland until we return next year.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition, a commission by Glasgow Life for Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

Educational workshops run at An Lanntair Gallery in conjunction with Grounded can be viewed here and here.

Joe’s educational video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

Some other sites that link to Grounded can be found here

Funder acknowledgements can be viewed here

More posts coming soon from Australia where the exhibition will start its tour in 2015

Click on the images below to enlarge:

 

The Colour of Language

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Swatches from Leverhulme School in Harris

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As part of An Lanntair arts education around the Grounded exhibition, Joe is going into the schools and asking the children to look closely at their environment and choose a particular colour. The associated word is written in Gaelic and English. The same thing is happening in Australian schools with Australian Aboriginal languages. In the end, the schools responses will be mixed as a giant wall of swatches displayed at an Lanntair Gallery and distributed to the schools.

The video of our other Saturday Art club workshop can also be viewed here.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Joe’s video of me talking about the exhibition can be viewed here.

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here. Some other online sites that link to Grounded can be found here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

An Lanntair Arts Education for Grounded

Joe Mahoney at An Lanntair arts education has devised some great educational workshops around Grounded. More on that coming soon. He also made a short video where I talk a little about the show. it can be linked to here or viewed below.

For those new to the blog, the Grounded exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

The Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

You can also link to information about the exhibition at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow Festival 2014, XX Commonwealth Games exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

An Lanntair opening of Grounded in Stornoway

Grounded An Lanntair

The exhibition is now open at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival. Lovely to reconnect with people and see the show in An Lanntair’s beautiful setting. Some more photos to follow.

I am also uploading two new additions to the blog here, as displayed in the show, at these links: Introductory panel in English and Introductory panel in Gaelic.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. The book that accompanied the exhibition can be found at Exhibition explanatory book

Three audiovisuals that were part of Grounded, and the promotional audiovisual, can be watched here

The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Photos of the Glasgow opening event are here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. And you can listen to a cut down recording of “In Conversation: Connecting through Culture” at this Vimeo link. (16 mins.) (One of our afternoon events at Glasgow Festival 2014 XX Commonwealth Games showing). Or listen to some music from one of our Glasgow afternoon events here.

My artist biography can be linked to here and here and my personal website is here

Wadlu-gnana

There are three audiovisuals in the Grounded exhibition. Wadlu-gnana (Wangkangurru language, meaning Grounded) is the first AV to be uploaded to this blog. The Australian Aboriginal song on this sound piece is from the CD “Dreaming Songs of the Warumungu Women” and provided with their kind permission and that of Papulu Apparr-kari.

The exhibition is showing next at An Lanntair Art Gallery in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, from 13 September to 11 October, a partner event at Hebtember Festival.

If you are new to the blog, the Grounded residency diary entries and photographs begin here in Scotland and then in Australia here. An interview about my work with journalist Jim Gilchrist is on the Struileag website which can be linked to here. And a response to the Alice Springs jail post by Professor Smith can be found here. A BBC Radio Scotland interview can be found here. A review by Dr Kate Robinson can be found here. The introductory page for the blog can be found here. Feedback on the Glasgow exhibition can be linked to here. Glasgow workshops, talks and exhibition details are here. And the Digital Resources pages of the blog for further information are here and here.

Day 35, Camping on the claypan; an encounter with feral camels; and a very special sharing

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Australian Aboriginal stone circles

1 September 2013

I am sitting out on my front deck today when a train of camels pulls into Don’s yard. I have never before been so close to these magnificently smug looking creatures, with their tight soft baby-curls and fluttering eyelashes. They have walked proudly with their owner, the 1,600 km from Gympie on the east coast.

There are also feral camels these days in the desert, a relic of their import from India in the 19th century for transport and construction, and I sometimes see them wandering into town.

It is strange how things happen, but as I pat and coo over these beasts, little do I know that I am to have a second less friendly encounter this night – with a herd of wild camels. Never before – then twice in one day – the Camel Star must be rising in Taurus!

Don and Lyn have promised to take me camping in the desert and tonight is the night. Koopah the dog of course is coming too, always faithfully by Don’s side, or waiting – a small, silent friend. He leaps up into the front seat, his little ears perked expectantly.

We pack up the 4WD with their swags and my little purple (snow!) tent, pots and pans and water, all the paraphernalia. Not just this though. Don is carefully wrapping the Wangkangurru artifacts that he treasures, so that I can photograph them out on the sands and the clay pan, in their natural environment.

We are also going looking for some directional stones that he has earmarked for future investigation after spotting them from the air. Directional stones, like the circles we explored en route to Npapa-npandaka, and when we were out on the gibber plains with Jim, are similarly stones that were re-arranged in the clay hundreds of years ago, to point the next group walking through in the right direction.

We, all four of us, (Koopah on our laps or under our legs) squeeze into the two front seats, holding tight to each other or to the dashboard as we drive off road, bouncing over dunes with a great rev of power to carry our heavy load up the sandy hills, searching for Don’s anticipated location. After many miles, we stop driving for a while and search further on foot, Lyn taking off – a streaking silhouette, towards the horizon. I stick close by Don as I am not so certain I could find my way back to anyone out here; one eye looking out for directional stones, one firmly on Don

It is Lyn who spots them first. We hear her excited call across the plain. One after another we come upon lines and circles set into the clay. It is an awe-inspiring moment. Perhaps we are the first to walk this way since they were last in use.

Our timing is perfect as dusk is on the horizon, so we find a spot on the clay pan, like a dog circling its tail to lie down, and set up camp. Don and Lyn build a fire and set out their swags. I move further out onto the clay pan with my little tent.

After dinner around the fire, we have been settled in our sleeping bags for about an hour when we first hear the roar. I lie with my muscles tensing to see if it comes again. And there it is. Almost in my ear, it sounds; a mighty, bellowing bark echoing through the vast, empty vessel of a chilly desert night.

The next sound is, on one level, a bit more comforting, and on another level even more disturbing. Lyn’s voice calls out, “Don, is Judy alright?” I am first to hastily reply. “What’s that!?”, I call across the empty clay pan. And suddenly there is Don’s voice, urgent in its tone; gone is the soft slow humour it usually holds. “Judy, come over here!”

I need no encouragement and try with great difficulty to pull on trousers and t-shirt in the dark and leap out of my tent. Getting my legs and arms caught in sleeves and sheet, grappling with the ridiculously small zip, stumbling out of the low 2-person tent as the bellow echoes across the clay pan again. I know – I should have camped by the fire! Tell me I am daft!

The roar again, shattering the still night into black ice-shards, splintering the clay pan. It is a bull camel I am told. Lyn says a herd stampeded across the clay pan shortly before I awoke. Lucky I wasn’t in their path – or was I? Did they artfully dodge my small tent in the dark?

As the sun rises on a new and innocent day, we lay out Don’s beautiful, precious artifacts on the clay and the gibber. This is the treasures he has brought:

A stone axe head hewn from volcanic rock; some koondi – throwing sticks of rough hard wood; kira – a boomerang; nganpa – a grinding stone; kutji – a spear; illyawunta – a stone knife. But most magnificent of all, Don brings out the emu feather slippers of the Minparru.

In Australian Aboriginal culture the Minparru (medicine man) was at the centre of community life. He was the link to the Creation time and he maintained contact between past and present. He not only healed people but might also accompany the Kurdaitcha in the dispensing of justice, (including killing people), for wrongdoing.

The shoes of woven yarri plant, pasted over with emu feathers, were worn on such occasions. The shoes are still regarded as highly sacred and secret by some Aboriginal Language Groups. However in Wangkangurru country Don felt it appropriate to share the shoes in the interests of preserving a memory of Culture.

They lie in my hand as light as air, soft as a cloud, smelling of feather. I carry them to the sand dune, in awe of the honour that I have been offered in holding these. I place them gently on the glowing sand, with the pink light of dawn rising, and photograph them there, whispering a silent prayer to them as I work. The air is completely still, fresh and cool from the night, the first lizards scuttling out into the sun. It is a moment etched on me forever. Thank you so much Don.

(There are some links on the Australia Digital Resources Page of the blog to more information about the Minparru)

Day 34, Npapa-npandaka in Munga-Thirri (the Simpson Desert)

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Npapa-npandaka at Munga-Thirri

30 August 2013

I’ve seen my last banana! It came with me from Longreach and now it is sadly eaten. I head down to the small general store, attached to the garage, walking the wide, wide empty streets to get there, under a sweating blue sky. A breeze is beginning to pick up and the sand and dust is flicking into my cheeks and eyes.

There is no shortage of frozen meat for sale at the store, packed and stacked happily together, but the couple of vegetables are looking rather lost and lonely. I snap them up.

Heading from here across the gaping green oval, pinned as it is beneath burning blue, I pop into the Wirrarri visitor centre. Wirrarri is the Wangkangurru name for Birdsville. I wonder why this name was not on the sign as I entered town? It is the first I have seen or heard of it.

This morning I am meeting with Jim at Don’s office. I pick up a couple of pies from the bakery next door, choosing from the famous kangaroo and camel selection, then find relief in the cool conditioned air of Don’s office.

Jim hobbles in, his tall beat-up felt Akubra, with its yellow and red twine wrapped around the base of the crown, like a signature marking his entry. We have a lovely long chat. I have many beautiful recordings of Jim to share.

In the late afternoon I jump in the 4WD with Don and he drives me out to Npapa-npandaka (Big Red), the largest sand dune in Munga-Thirri (Simpson Desert). Munga-Thirri is the largest sand dune desert in the world.

We speed over the corrugations in the compacted dust, gibber cobbling the flats to right and left. I notice how the angle of the sun affects the colour of the gibber. To our right it is a deep shimmering russet, but to our left it appears almost black as we head west into the sun.

Don suddenly pulls over onto the gibber and drives me across country in a landscape that for the untrained eye appears to be merely a repetition of itself. But he is navigating me to a special place; two circles of stones sit side by side on the plain, where red pebbles have been carefully arranged on the ground centuries ago. They could be for Corroboree, or for message sticks. It is hard to know for sure all these years later, with the history largely banned from the telling.

When we arrive at Npapa-npandaka, I simply want to run. It is as though the wind that has picked up the sand and laid it grain by grain on top of itself, to reach a magnificent 40 meters in height, is picking me up with it and swirling me round in the beauty of the place.

A large lake sits, becalmed, at the bottom of the dune. Spindly old trees rise from milky-blue; the lake which we skirted to reach the climb up the dune.

From the top I can see how the dunes sweep out to the desert, stretching ahead in parallel, north to south ridges, the scrubby vegetation between each dune holding them in place. Npapa-npandaka ripples in perfectly delicate patterns across its huge bulk, every now and then a spinifex plant stamping a full stop in the regularity of the wind’s latest design. At the top, the ridge is razor sharp, a soft shadow of sand blowing consistently across the edge.

I am delighted by the heat radiating upwards, the soft grainy texture, the sweet wild smells, and most of all by the colour, shifting and sighing with the lowering of the sun in the sky until the sand finally sets alight in a blazing red.

(I have put some links to sites about Munga-Thirri and the gibber on the Australian Digital Resources page of the blog)