Monkey, pee and the mask

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at Sawtooth ARI, Launceston in December 2016. With Terry Urbahn and Catherine Bagnall

“I wanted to write about what it is to submerge, but I can’t tell that story as though it has a beginning, a middle and an end.”[1] Things get very mixed-up; nothing is ever clearly this way or that. Here I am, in the sun, warm, cool beer at hand, I’d be in the studio if it wasn’t for my bad back, but what the hell this is pretty damn good. Shit, I’m unemployed, I have to realize my youthful dream and be an artist, sell some add to the coffers. I’m not happy, dead monkeys.

Walking the trap-line behind the hills and into the remote Gollans Valley with old Jan, it was a long day – we climbed steep banks and followed a small stream checking on stoat and possum traps all the way, looking for faeries. Our route was marked with pink ribbons we could be easily lost. The cardboard church is there, raw, kinda cool, weird, and confusing as fuck. There were seven masks lumpy shapes covered in pink paint, to wear or just to be held. Young Juan brought me to this place. We sat and I drank and thought, would you like to wear my masks? Some of them are noisy, some sparkle like diamonds, and others are fun. Some are still a little sad, but that’s often the way things are.

Peeing in the bush, a few fur muffs big and small with butterflies, stuck out on sticks.

There is respect, fear and the calling up of pagan bush gods… there is hope. Art is a blissful trance-like sensation. It happens rarely, but when it does, it comes as naturally as a good bad lead break from someone who can’t play guitar. I gave the masks away in the end and arrived home dead dog tired covered in mud and slept like a log. It’s not about growing old and failure.

1 Megan Dunn, Submerging Artist Pantgraph Punch (2013)