ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate

I’m lying on my side in a darkened studio with lights and a camera pointed at my bare back. Christoffer is taking the pictures, directed by Andreas and Dagmara. The studio is in Aarhus, Denmark, I’m naked, and the film, called ‘Landscapes’, puts together close-up images of seven LGBTQI people over 60.

It’s a four-hour shoot, first across my back then tight on my chest, moving to my hand and finally to my upper body and face. While the camera pans through smoke effects and I’m in the picture, the film crew are exclaiming how beautiful it looks. Dagmara calls the session ‘funky’. It’s as if they’re sightseers in a gallery being constantly surprised and astonished by the artwork they see there. Continue reading ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate

WORDS AND ART FOR A CHANGING CLIMATE

Nancy Campbell, photographed by Mark Walton.

I interviewed poet, art critic and environmentalist Nancy Campbell about her Arctic residencies, her climate change projects, and her work supporting threatened cultures. Shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection, Nancy is also an innovative printmaker who has won the Birgit Skiöld Award. She was a Marie Claire ‘Wonder Woman’ in 2016 for activities including the Arctic Book Club and The Polar Tombola, an interactive live literature event. Nancy’s latest book, The Library of Ice, a blend of cultural history, nature writing and memoir, is published by Scribner UK. Continue reading WORDS AND ART FOR A CHANGING CLIMATE

NON-BINARY ARTIST & WRITER DISCUSS CREATIVITY

Karolina
Leslie

Artist Karolina Alexiou and author Leslie Tate exchanged ideas about their creative processes, and how much their work is connected to being non-binary .

Leslie: So, where do we start if we’re relating creativity to stepping outside the gender box?

Karolina: It’s good to speak as queer artists, but it doesn’t have to be queerness that’s the main point of our artworks. So I don’t think queerness manifests in an overt way in my work. Androgyny is perhaps the most obvious manifestation. Continue reading NON-BINARY ARTIST & WRITER DISCUSS CREATIVITY

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CRIME FICTION?

Kate Vane

Author Kate Vane guest blogs about the power of crime fiction to question the controlling nature of institutions and explore people’s motivations. As a crime novelist herself, Kate has been praised for her skilful pen portraits: ‘Characterisation was the thing that really made this book great for me.’ – Ashrae (Amazon top 500 reviewer) on Brand New Friend, Kate’s latest novel.

Kate says of herself: “I lived in Leeds for a number of years where I worked as a probation officer. I started writing crime fiction because I thought made-up criminals would be easier to manage (I was wrong). I’ve published four novels and also written for BBC drama Doctors. My short stories and articles have appeared in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday. I’ve always loved the sea, and now live on the beautiful south Devon coast. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably in the garden.” Continue reading WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CRIME FICTION?

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

Barbara Navarro acrylic and sand, Rio Orinoco

I talked to artist Barbara Navarro, who lives during winter with Yanomami communities in S. America, creating artworks that protest against the destruction of tropical forests and the degradation of the way of life of indigenous people. Barbara’s innovative art was originally inspired by staying with the Dogon people in W. Africa and later with the Yanomami. She has also written and illustrated children’s fantasy/adventure books about how Yanomami communities live and the magical connection they have with nature. Barbara has a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and now lives, during the summer months, in Paris.
Continue reading ARTIST IN RESIDENCE WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

MARJORIE MALLON AND THE GRASSHOPPER OF TIME

Marjorie with Dr John C Taylor OBE – the inventor of the Chronopage clock

I interviewed white witch, novelist and blogger Marjorie Mallon about her active creative life and the community of creative minds she works with. Marjorie , who is a busy book reviewer, won first prize in the 2018 Bloggers Bash Blog Post Writing Competition. She says about herself: “My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I’m a passionate Scorpio and a lucky rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac, who was born in Singapore, grew up in Hong Kong and Edinburgh and now lives in Cambridge, UK. When not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn or Qilin, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.” Continue reading MARJORIE MALLON AND THE GRASSHOPPER OF TIME

ADVENTURES IN MUSIC

Elaine and Ken Edwards

I interviewed Ken Edwards who , with his wife Elaine, plays music that is influenced by ‘Klezmer, Sephardic, Balkan, Cuban, folk-rock and jazz’ – but in a style that is very much their own. I wanted to know how Ken and Elaine have kept their music fresh, alive and outside the box.

Leslie: You play in two groups with Elaine: Afrit Nebula and The Moors. Could you describe the musical difference between these two groups, please? Continue reading ADVENTURES IN MUSIC

TAHITI: THE IMAGE IN THE MIND

This beautiful lyrical essay about growing up in Tahiti and losing her father is by Lillian Howan, author of ‘The Charm Buyers‘. Lillian‘s writings have appeared in Asian American Literary Review, Café Irreal, Calyx, New England Review, Vice Versa, and the anthologies Ms Aligned 2 & Under Western Eyes. She lives in Berkley, USA.

Black sand beach with the island of Moorea. Photo: Lillian Howan.

Lights from a Distance

Whenever I visited my father in Tahiti, I arrived at night. After a several-hours flight over dark sea and sky, lights would start to appear, and a murmur would arise from some of the passengers – someone saying: look, lights! At first, the lights would be few and distant, scattered in the vast blackness, but then more and more would appear, random dots, and then a long cluster of lights along a coastline, the island of Tahiti appearing out of the darkness.  Continue reading TAHITI: THE IMAGE IN THE MIND

POLYNESIA: PARADISE LOST?

In this two-part feature, Lillian Howan, author of a powerful novel set in Tahiti,  offers a revealing interview and a lyrical essay describing her cultural heritage, her creativity and her experience of lupus. It also includes pictures of Polynesian Islands threatened by climate change, taken by Lillian’s sister-in-law, Françoise Holozet-Howan.

PICTURES OF POLYNESIA

Iles Maria by Francoise Howan-Holozet

This is a message from Françoise Holozet-Howan, about these photographs of Polynesia: Continue reading POLYNESIA: PARADISE LOST?

Author and Poet