Creative Writing – “When A Good Laugh Is Important!” written by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia - Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia – Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!. JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Our creative writing sessions have now come to an end.  This week we said our farewells to each other with the hope that in the future sometime, we may catch-up informally to talk about what’s been happening in our lives.  It’s somewhat sad but a necessary important part of our creative writing therapy.  Now is the time we take what we have learned about ourselves through our creative writing efforts, and put this new knowledge to good use.  Whether it be the practice of continued creative writing efforts and/or embarking on another kind of creative therapy, we know we are now in a better place than when we first started, and now better skilled to deal with what’s ahead.

 

WHEN A GOOD LAUGH IS IMPORTANT!

It was important during our very last creative writing session that we attempt to engage in a sense of cheeriness.  Our creative writing facilitator had us write a piece that was to be about something that was our favourite thing about ourselves.  We had 10 minutes to write the piece and at the end of that 10 minutes we were then invited to share what we had written – if we wished.  What I love about these kind of creative writing exercises is this, you never know what is going to pop into your head and be translated into the written word.  I am also amazed and intrigued by what others write and share as well, how their stories vary and how imaginative they can be.  Sometimes, the group’s stories can be sad, sometimes our stories can be revealing and insightful, and at other times they can have us laughing unexpectedly – which is always welcomed!

I wrote a creative writing piece on this last day that did just that, had everyone laughing with delight and I must admit it gave me a great sense of pleasure knowing that I was able to achieve this, on this our very last day of creative writing with this extraordinary group of people.  Below is my creative writing piece that was based around the creative writing facilitator’s request “about something that was a favourite thing about ourselves” and I hope you find it humorous as well – remembering that a good laugh about one’s self can be important!  It is titled ‘Favourite Thing About Self’.

 

No. 1 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Self Portrait' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Self Portrait’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.  It was created by outlining the silhouette on my face and then using pastel and charcoal to create this image on paper.  It was done during the art therapy session itself. JPG



Title:  "Favourite Thing About Self"
  

My grey hair colour is perhaps my most favourite ‘self’ thing!

It’s the only thing that’s gotten better

as I have gotten older.




The nice perky boobs have diminished

and given way

to the over-ripe melons

that sag and sag.




My once-lovely flat belly

is now a memory overwritten

by a lumpy, bumpy hill

that does not flatten out when I lay down.

It just sits there reminding me

of my middle-aged spread.




My once-muscular legs

that used to attract all sorts of admiration

from both males and females,

a noticeable gift from my mother’s DNA,

are now always hidden away, under long pants, in shame.




My skin that used to be aglow

with good health

and good looks

has slipped away

secretly, quietly

– never to be found again.




And so it goes,

as it must --

all that was favourite

has been taken by that thief,

old age,

and I am now left with one thing in exchange for my youth --

my grey hair,

a favourite ‘self’ thing!




Oops, I forgot.

I do like my brain.

It’s been working, not better

but differently,

and I can see that it is going to help me

in my ripe, old age.




Good bye, good looks

and thank you, brain.




Prose Poem © Karen Robinson, April 2016

 

 

WHAT ADVICE I WOULD GIVE SOMEONE IN A SITUATION LIKE MYSELF

Before we were to finished up this particular session, our creative writing facilitator asked us to write one more creative writing piece.  This piece was to be about “what advice we would give someone in a situation like ourselves”.  In contrast to my writing piece above, this was a serious and thoughtful piece.

 

No. 2 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 


Advice I would give someone in a situation like mine…

Keep looking forward 
when looking back is too hard to bear 
and look back 
when you are stronger.
 
Whilst the pain will still be there, 
it will have hopefully morphed 
into a bearable medium to work with
as time marches on and on.

Take a moment in each day
to look for something
that will bring you
 some kind of joy,
 
whether it be joy 
for just a moment
or joy
for a greater period of time.
 
In time, you will begin 
to reward yourself 
by looking for more and more 
joy in the everyday.

And after some considerable time
some of your days will be full of joy, 
and the sadness
will only come
when you invite it in.

Prose Poem © Karen Robinson - April 2016

 

 

CONCLUSION

Thank you to Judy Bird our creative writing facilitator, Gillian Scaduto our Mind Australia co-facilitator and our wonderful group members – I will never forget our time shared…

 

Art Therapy Session No. 2-'Silhouette Portrait' by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

Art Therapy Session No. 2-‘Silhouette Portrait’ by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

.

Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Art Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – “Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei” Blog Written by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

No. 1 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 1 of 10 Here I am at the front of the Gallery after spending some of my day with my husband viewing the amazing ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

 

 

INTRODUCTION

It was going to be the last weekend where we had a chance to see the incredible exhibition of ‘Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne – Australia.  Training it – into the city of Melbourne was easy and making our way to the Gallery on foot from Flinders Street Railway Station, was a good stretch for the legs!  Once we were into the Gallery itself, it was clear that this was a very big event.  There were many, many people there, and it felt like the whole of Melbourne had the same idea as my husband and I – to see this exhibition before the end of this weekend!.

No. 2 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 2 of 10 My husband in the foreground.  We are waiting just inside where the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ exhibition commences with a very large group of people whom are listening to the Volunteer Gallery Guide.  We are all geared up with headphones so that we can individually hear what she has to say about the artists and their work – 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

We had decided it would be best to take part in the ‘Voluntary Guide Tour’ which commented at 11.30am and was free.  Luckily for us, we were able to obtain the very last sets of audio listening devices, so that we were able to listen to the ‘Volunteer Tour Guide’ clearly during the whole of the tour, which took approximately one and a half hours.  It was very informative, and helped both my husband and I understand these artists and their work more fully, in what was such a small amount of time to do so.

Viewing the artwork of both these world-renowned artists Ai Weiwei – Chinese born 1957 and Andy Warhol – American born 1928 and died 1987 – helped me gain a clearer understanding about what drove these two men to be so creatively prolific in their work as artists; what made them distinctive in their field of artistic expertise.

Within the ANDY-WARHOL-AI-WEIWEI-EXHIBITION-GUIDE PDF it stated the following details about Andy and Ai:

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei explores the influence of two of the most consequential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries on modern art and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels and intersections between their practices. Surveying the scope of both artists’ careers, the exhibition presents more than 300 works, including major new commissions, immersive installations and a wide representation of painting, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media.

Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei have each redefined the identity and role of the artist in society. Parallels also exist between the ways in which both artists have transformed our understanding of studio production and artistic value. Both are also renowned for their engagement with media and communications, and for the cultivation of celebrity and their own persona, in order to speak to social contexts beyond the world of art.

There was so much to see at this exhibition, and so much to understand and appreciate that it would be impossible for me to cover all here within this blog.  I am just going to cover a very small amount of stand outs for me, and hope that you as a reader, will some day have the same opportunity as I have had, to view such a vast sum of work done by these extraordinary artists.  I really could have spent days and days there, it was just that amazingly comprehensive.  NB:  For detailed written information about each of the works of art – please click on link to the National Gallery of Victoria’s AndyWarhol_AiWeiwei_Labels.

 

 

 

ANDY WARHOL’S SELF-PORTRAIT 1986

I particularly liked Andy Warhol’s self-portraits and the insight it gave me about the artist himself.  Being a lover of colour and form myself, I naturally found myself drawn to his silkscreen ink on linen art work.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s artwork labels for his portraits read –

It is perhaps surprising, in view of his self-consciousness and fondness for the anonymity of silkscreen printing, that Warhol produced many self-portraits over a twenty-year period.  In Self-Portrait No. 9 his gaunt, disembodied image floats against a starry black background, partially concealed by a fluorescent camouflage pattern – an eloquent reflection on the nature of fame and privacy in an age of mass media.  Produced only months before Warhol’s death from surgical complications, this haunting self-portrait is sometimes interpreted as a postmodern death mask.

Nine months before his untimely death due to complications after gall bladder surgery, Warhol undertook a large series of iconic self-portrait paintings.  Many viewers and critics alike regard these gaunt staring faces as memento mori, or reminders of human mortality.  Each work centres on a levitating head surrounded by a halo of spiky hair.  Monumental in scale, the works have a melancholic, haunting quality created in part by the use of dark tones and a dense black ground, and in part by variations across the series in the ghost-like negative photographic reproduction.

In today’s galleries, there is the inclusion of labels that have been written ‘for kids’!  I find myself drawn to them as an adult as they offer a simplistic narrative which allows me to gain further information that is sometimes not included in the adult version.  The information is more generalised and I find it just as interesting!

The National Gallery of Victoria’s artwork label for kids about Andy Warhol’s portraits read as following:

This is one of many self-portraits Andy created during the 1980’s.  Andy, always wearing his white wig, stood out from the crowd in New York City.  It was his permanent look and he was never seen without it.  Andy is also famous for breaking the art tradition of painting a portrait with brushes and paints; instead, he used a commercial printing technique called silkscreen-printing.  This technique meant he could produce many pictures in a short period of time – sometimes eighty in one day.  Did you know Andy’s cats used to curl up and sleep in his drawer full of wigs?

No. 2 of 3 Andy Warhol Self-Portrait 1986 Synthetic Polymer Paint and Silkscreen Ink on Linen. Photo taking at National Gallery of Victoria 23.4.16 by Karen Robinson

No. 2 of 3 Andy Warhol Self-Portrait 1986 Synthetic Polymer Paint and Silkscreen Ink on Linen. Photo taken at National Gallery of Victoria 23.4.16 by Karen Robinson

 

 

 

ANDY WARHOL’S CAMPBELL’S SOUP 11:  NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER, HOTDOG BEAN, TOMATO-BEEF NOODLE O’S OYSTER STEW, CHICKEN’N DUMPLINGS AND CAMPBELL’S SOUP 11 SERIES 1969 – COLOUR SILKSCREEN ON PAPER

It was interesting, to at last – see up front and in person, these most famous images, images of ordinary, everyday items of tinned food.  The National Gallery of Victoria – Volunteer Guide informed us that it was said that Andy Warhol had one can of soup each day for a number of decades!

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup 11 artwork labels read –

1-2 Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup 11 Colour Silkscreen on Paper exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

1-2 Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup 11 Colour Silkscreen on Paper exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

Warhol’s paintings of Campbell’s Soup Cans were first exhibited at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, in 1962, and he returned to the subject repeatedly throughout his career.  The works’ ready-made commercial imagery, mechanical manufacture and serial production ran counter to prevailing artistic tendencies, offering a comment on notions of artistic originality, uniqueness and authenticity.  The familiar red-and-white label of a Campbell’s Soup can was immediately recognisable to most Americans, regardless of their social or economic status, and eating Campbell’s Soup was a widely shared experience.  This quintessential American product represented modern ideals:  it was inexpensive, easily prepared and available in any supermarket.

2-2 Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup 11 Colour Silkscreen on Paper exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

2-2 Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup 11 Colour Silkscreen on Paper exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

 

 

 

AI WEIWEI’S DROPPING A HAN DYNASTY URN 2015

4-5 Ai Weiwei Photographic Triptych - Dropping A Han Dynasty Urn 2015 Artwork exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria photos taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

4-5 Ai Weiwei Photographic Triptych – Dropping A Han Dynasty Urn 2015 Artwork exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria photos taken by Karen Robinson with husband in the background 23.4.16

Ai Weiwei’s photographic triptych – Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn was intriguing.  Not just because of the story on the labels as shown below but because of the sheer size of the works and the amazing detailing.  It is not until you come up close do you realise that the photographic pixelation has been created by actual Lego like plastic pieces put together to create these amazing three images.  I kept thinking about the amount of time and energy it would have taken to create such a work; about the skill it would have taken to master the pixelated form using the Lego like plastic pieces.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Ai Weiwei’s dropping Han Dynasty Urn artwork labels read –

Ai’s photographic triptych Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995, which shows the artist holding, releasing and smashing a Han dynasty vase, is one of the artist’s most iconic works and demonstrates his critical engagement with China’s violent cultural heritage, the artist’s performative action is presented matter-of-factly, with the viewer left to contemplate the event and what might be salvaged from the destruction.  Ai has recreated the image here in children’s building blocks, in pixelated form, attesting to the distribution of images by digital technologies.

5-5 Ai Weiwei Photographic Triptych - Dropping A Han Dynasty Urn 2015 Artwork exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria photos taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

5-5 Ai Weiwei Photographic Triptych – Dropping A Han Dynasty Urn 2015 Artwork exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria photos taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Ai Weiwei’s dropping Han Dynasty Urn artwork label for kids read as following:

Have you ever accidentally broken a vase at home?  In these three photographs we see Weiwei dropping an urn on purpose!  This urn is an ancient cultural relic and is very valuable; however, in ancient China these urns were not precious.  They were produced quite cheaply and in large quantities to be placed in tombs.  By destroying the urn, Weiwei makes us question how we think about the past, and about the importance of ancient objects in our lives today.

 

 

 

AI WEIWEI’S BICYCLE BASKET WITH FLOWERS & WITH FLOWERS PROJECT

No. 4 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 4 of 10 Karen and husband at the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16  Karen taking a ‘Selfie’ in front of Ai Weiwei’s bicycle basket exhibition piece – hopefully Ai Weiwei will not mind me doing so – a sign of the times ‘Selfie’s’ everywhere!  NB Images are copyright protected.

Being a lover of flowers and colour it wasn’t hard for me to be drawn to this installation art work of Ai Weiwei and after reading its background story I found it even more engaging and profound.  The way Ai Weiwei found a non violent way to strongly express his political stance and engage the rest of the world – was pure genius I feel.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Ai Weiwei’s Bicycle Basket of Flowers and with Flowers Project in Porcelain artwork labels read –

In 2011 Ai was detained by Chinese authorities for eighty-one days without being charged.  Upon his release, Ai’s passport was revoked and his studio placed under constant surveillance.  With Flowers saw the artist place a fresh bunch of flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside his studio on a daily basis in a poetic protest against restriction on his right to travel.  Images of the flowers were posted to Ai’s social media feeds, and an internet movement called Flowers for Freedom emerged.  The project concluded upon the return of Ai’s passport in July 2015.

1-1 Ai Weiwei's bicycle basket with flowers exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

1-1 Ai Weiwei’s bicycle basket with flowers exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

In late 2015, in response to the confiscation of his passport by Chinese authorities in 2011, Ai tweeted:  ‘Since Nov. 30, 2013, every morning I am putting a bouquet of flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside the front door of the No. 258 Caochangdi studio until I win back the right to travel’. Ai documented the flowers on his website and social media on a daily basis.  The project concluded on 23 July 2015 following the return of the artist’s passport a day earlier.  Here Ai memorialises the With Flowers project in porcelain, traditionally the most revered of Chinese artistic mediums.

 

 

 

ANDY WAHOL’S FLOWERS 1970 COLOUR SILKSCREENS ON PAPER

1-8 Andy Wahol's Flowers 1970 Colour Silkscreens on Paper exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria Photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

1-8 Andy Wahol’s Flowers 1970 Colour Silkscreens on Paper exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria Photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

It was Andy Wahol’s Flowers 1970 Silkscreens on paper that I loved the most and if you know my own artwork, it wouldn’t be hard to know why as I do love colour.  The brightly coloured flowers bouncing off the walls of the gallery was like ‘honey to a bee’ for me and I also do like artwork that can be viewed as a series of images.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Andy Wahol’s Flowers 1970 artwork labels read –

Experimenting with decoration – one of modernist painting’s most controversial subjects – Warhol’s Flowers prints were exhibited in tight grids at his first show at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York city, in 1964.   A subsequent series was exhibited in Paris, where more than 100 works were hung almost edge to edge, mimicking the decorative effect of wallpaper.  The source photograph, taken by Patricia Caulfield, appeared in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography magazine.  Caulfield sued to maintain ownership of the image, and while the suit was settled out of court, the issues of authorship and copyright it raised remain relevant to contemporary art debates.

3-8 Andy Wahol's Flowers 1970 Colour Silkscreens on Paper exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria Photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

3-8 Karen Robinson, me standing along side of Andy Wahol’s Flowers 1970 Colour Silkscreens on Paper exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria Photo taken by Husband of Karen Robinson 23.4.16

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Andy Wahol’s Flowers 1970 artwork label for kids read as following:

In the mid 1960s Andy began producing his flowers series.  For his first exhibition he filled a gallery with almost thirty silkscreen prints.  To make the works of art he began with a magazine photograph of hibiscus flowers.  He cut out the image, increased its size and turned it into a print.  The pictures show the same arrangement of flowers but are printed in many different colour combinations.  Andy often asked his friends for ideas.  For his flowers series he asked them to tell him their favourite colours.

 

 

 

AI WEIWEI’S  –  MAO 1985 OIL ON CANVAS

Ai Weiwei’s political statements conveyed through his artwork offers an insight into his life and also the lives of those whom live within his homeland of China.  It helps Westerners better appreciate the importance of free speech and the value of art being a vehicle to inform others about repressive societies.  His artwork leaves us more informed so that we cannot say we don’t know or understand, so that we can not turn a ‘blind eye’ to injustices.

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Ai Weiwei’s – Mao Triple Portraits artwork reads –

Ai’s triple portrait of Mao subjects the Chinese leader to distortions gleaned from the Western avant-garde movements of Pop, Expressionism and Dada.  As John J. Curley has observed:  ‘The stoical and symmetrical official portrait of Mao was part of Ai’s everyday visual culture in China, and due to personal circumstance, he understood the violence, censorship and oppression hidden behind the facade.  He renders the leader as a caricature, critiquing the legacy of Mao through the combination of a belittling Pop rendition and the violent signs of an aesthetic struggle.  Mao’s power over the people, at least in these canvases, does not extend to Ai’.

1-1 Ai Weiwei's - Mao 1985 Oil On Canvas exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

1-1 Ai Weiwei’s – Mao 1985 Oil On Canvas exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

No. 6 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 6 of 10 Husband standing in front of Ai Weiwei’s – Mao 1985 Oil on Canvas artwork at the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

 

 

 

 WEIWEI’S LETGO ROOM 2015 PLASTIC

Ai Weiwei has given this particular installation a very clever title ‘Letgo’ Room when you take into account that LEGO the company, declined to supply Ai with what was required to complete this art work.  Too bad – because it is really amazing and for me – strongly advertisers LEGO’s lack of foresight but in turn Ai Weiwei’s installation becomes a very effective way of pushing his thoughts and ideas to the forefront of the viewer, especially around his ‘exploration of copy and fake’!  What I really loved about this work was that you entered into a cave like experience, but very brightly lit.  The whole enclosure is covered from top to bottom and all over the walls with Lego like plastic and the fact that you could stand on it as well – almost seemed wrong but great at the same time!

The National Gallery of Victoria’s artwork labels for Ai Weiwei’s Letgo Room reads –

Composed of more than three million plastic building blocks, Ai Weiwei’s Letgo Room is a new installation featuring portraits of Australian activists and champions of human rights and freedom of speech.  Ai has chosen people who represent grassroots community activism and advocacy within the fields of international law and academia, social welfare and the rights of Indigenous people, asylum seekers, sex workers and the gender non-specific, among other cultural contexts.  Each subject was asked to provide a one-line statement reflecting their philosophy and views to accompany his or her portrait.

The work attests to Ai’s longstanding commitment to liberty, manifested in his work as an artist, social commentator, activist and public intellectual.  Letgo Room was intended to be constructed from LEGO blocks; however, the LEGO company declined to provide a bulk order of their product due to the purported ‘political’ nature of the proposed work.  Instead, the installation is composed of building blocks manufactured in China, continuing the artist’s exploration of copy and fake.

Ai Weiwei’s Letgo room subjects consisted of Hana Assafiri, Juian Assange, Rosie Batty, Julian Burnside AO QC, Dr Gary Foley, Peter Greste, Abel Guteeres, Stephen Hagan, Jill Jolliffe, Debbie Kiroy OAM, The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, The Hon. Jean McLean, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, norrie mAy-welby, Professor Dianne Otto, Cheryl Overs, Archie Roach, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Dr Tim Souphommasane, Professor and Gillian Triggs.  NB:  If you would like to know more about these people – please refer to the National Victoria Gallery’s AndyWarhol_AiWeiwei_Labels.PDF

No. 8 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 8 of 10 Karen look up at the ceiling within the ‘Letgo Room’ at the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

1-10 Ai Weiwei's Letgo Room exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

1-10 Ai Weiwei’s Letgo Room exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

AI WEIWEI’S – CIRCLE OF ANIMALS (IN GOLD) 2010 GILT-BRONZE

Ai Weiwei’s beautiful twelve zodiac golden animal heads glowed in the darken part of the National Gallery of Victoria which draws in you to have a closer look to investigate what are these beautiful creatures.  Ai is constantly asking the viewer of his artworks to think, examine preconceived ideas and thoughts that the viewer may have and to walk away with a new perspective – I really like his thinking!

The National Gallery of Victoria’s artwork labels for Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals reads –

Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals is based on twelve zodiac animal heads which functioned as a water clock-fountain in European-style gardens of Yuanmingyuan palace, Beijing, designed in the eighteenth century by two European Jesuits for the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong.  In 1860 Yuanmingyuan was ransacked by French and British troops and the heads were pillaged.  In reinterpreting these objects, Ai focuses attention on the ethics of looting and repatriation, the role of the fake and the copy and power relations between China and the West.

16-16 Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals (Gold) 2010 Gilt-Bronze exhibit at National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

16-16 Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals (Gold) 2010 Gilt-Bronze exhibit at National Gallery of Victoria photo taken by Karen Robinson 23.4.16

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals artwork label for kids read as following:

China’s Qianlong Emperor, who reigned from 1735 to 1796, once had a set of Zodiac animal statues just like these created for the gardens of his magnificent Yuanmingyuan palace.  Those statues were stolen, but Weiwei has created this new set which look exactly like them.  The Chinese Zodiac calendar is a twelve-year-long repeating cycle in which each year relates to a particular animal.  These include the dragon, the rat and the ox.  Ask an adult to look up which year of the Zodiac calendar you were born in.  Who knows – you might be a tiger!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

No. 9 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 9 of 10 Husband standing next to one of the Ai Weiwei Circle of Animals (in Gold) 2010 gilt-bronze at the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Well – this exhibition was just so big and as I stated earlier, I could have, should have stayed for days and truly immersed myself in the worlds of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.  After visiting the gallery and after writing this blog, I feel even more enthused about getting to know the art world more fully.  Art for therapy for sure…now for another coffee!

No. 10 of 10 Karen and husband at the 'Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei' Exhibition - National Gallery of Victoria - Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

No. 10 of 10 Husband and I (me behind the mobile phone camera) having a cuppa after the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected

 

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! Post-traumatic Growth – My Art & Creative Writing Journey – Written by Karen Robinson

Book Review by Karen Robinson – “Wired to Create” Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregorie

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson - 'Wired to Create' Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire NB All images are protected by copyright laws

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson – ‘Wired to Create’ Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire.  Karen Robinson – being me spending time reading.  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

I have to confess, I am not and have not ever been a big reader.  During my turbulent childhood, reading was just not at the top of the list of important things to worry about.  Throughout my adulthood, it has proven to be a great failing of mine, and I wish I had learned the love of reading books in my earlier life.  So what I am hoping to do here within my blog is to take up reading books in relation to art therapy and creative writing therapy and sharing my thoughts about such books.

 

WIRED TO CREATE

After searching the internet, I came across this book titled Wired to Create.  The title captured my imagination firstly, and then it was its – book review and the qualitative authors, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire that final sold me on purchasing the book to read.

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD “is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  Carolyn Gregoire “is a senior writer at the Huffington Post, where she reports on psychology, mental health, and TEDx and the Harvard Public Health Forum, and has appeared on MSNBC, the Today show, the History Channel, and Huffpost Live” (S.B. Kaufman/C.Gregoire 2015). 

 

BOOK TRAILER VIDEO OF SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN

 

 

MY BOOK REVIEW OF ‘WIRED TO CREATE’ & PERSONAL INSIGHTS

The Wired to Create book explores the many faces of creativity through the habits and motivations of highly creative people; and what they do differently within areas of:  imaginative play, passion, daydreaming, solitude, intuition, openness to experience, mindfulness, sensitivity, turning adversity into advantage, and thinking differently (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).

At first I found Wired to Create a little hard to get into but within a number of pages turned, I was hooked.  It was an easy read and I felt myself being able to really grasp what was written.  There was much I personally could relate to, along with being able to experience science based new information about a subject matter that’s important to me.

 

 

Some of the notable things that I learned whilst reading this book, has been that creative people whom enjoy the process of their creativity, and feel a sense of control over it, show greater creativity, than those whom concentrate just on what the end result will accomplish (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This statement rings true for myself, as the process of painting, creative writing, photo-taking is very much part of my therapeutic journey overall, and the outcome just seems to be a place where I just stop and pause, in readiness to embark on the next project.  Reaching the end of a project is satisfying, but the process in getting there is far more significant and self-fulfilling. Part of this process demonstrates a state of mind describe as ‘flow’ which allows the creative person to be completely absorbed; to be deeply concentrating on the task at hand and in turn, there’s a sensation of time being lost (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This flow state of mind has played a very important part during my own art as therapy journey along side of my story telling for each painting I have painted.

NB:  Click here to view an Interesting Ted Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

The subject matter about post-traumatic growth was of great interest to me whilst reading this book. Wired to Create authors stated that “post-traumatic growth often leads people to see new possibilities in their lives, and one of those new possibility ties – may be an artistic hobby or an entirely new career that allows them to express their creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015). I found this to be true myself as I had taken up art and creative writing at times in my life where I most needed a way of coping with a series of major life crisis’ and traumatic events. Creativity formed an essential part of my post-traumatic growth. It lead me to experiencing a better sense of well-being and improved my life in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

NB: Click here to read about a blog I wrote about attending a Regional Arts Workshop where the subject was around ‘post-traumatic growth’

 

CONCLUSION

Highly recommend Wired to Create as a read for those interested in what creativity is and how the creative mind works/evolves and how important that we be supportive of those that choose to be creative.  That unlocking our creative self, is not just a benefit to ourselves as creators, it also benefits those whom are viewers/users of such creativity.  It also benefits humanity at large and the Wired to Create authors help to substantiate that proposition within their book.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art & Creative Writing Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson