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My essays Steel Springs in Meanjin; Opening Doors and Minds in Limelight; and Letter from Dunkley in The Monthly.
In a rehearsal space in Sydney, two First Nations choreographers are finding common cultural threads that have shaped them – bodies of fresh or salt water, the southern sky and generations of strong women.

Together, they are creating a new work, The Light Inside, for Bangarra Dance Theatre’s first-ever mainstage international collaboration, as part of its forthcoming major touring show Horizon.

When Margot Dean played bassoon, she felt completely connected with audiences, especially as a member of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, a musical community that sated her creative desire.

Dean rose to section principal bassoon with the ASO in 1992, at the age of 25, playing in that position for most of the decade afterwards. Her favourite moments in the orchestra pit were playing opera, unleashing her instrument’s warm vibrato and distinctive tone as the musicians and singers breathed communally as one.

The artist Jumaadi paints and draws on the tough hide from water buffalo once used to plough rice fields. His art, which depicts Javanese folk culture, also encompasses cloth canvas, laboriously stretched and sealed in a large pond of rice glue, hand pressed like a silk screen.

The studio Jumaadi has kept in Imogiri in Yogyakarta for the past 11 years is surrounded by a beautiful dry landscape, contrasting with tropical expectations of Indonesia. It reminds him of his adopted second home in Australia, where he maintains a studio in the northern Sydney suburb of Brookvale. “That familiarity gave me that comfort of drying trees in the summer,” says the quietly spoken 51-year-old.

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