Inspiration of Judith Wright celebrated in exhibition

Artist Fiona Rafferty at an exhibition, play and panel discussion on the impact of Judith Wright and her poetry. Photo: Glenn HuntThe work and inspiration of poet and environmentalist Judith Wright was celebrated in paintings, plays and prose in Brisbane on Saturday at her namesake performance space in Fortitude Valley.

Artists on Saturday marked 100 years since Judith Wright’s birth in Armidale in 1915 with a play, “Hearts Ablaze”, inspired by her time

living in the home, Calanthe, in Mt Tambourine with philosopher, Jack McKinney.

Actor Jennifer Flowers plays the central character inspired by Judith Wright.

The house was named after a white orchid which grows on Mt Tambourine.

Artists Fiona Rafferty and Frances Smith also produced an exhibition – called Reminiscence – of paintings and ceramics, inspired by Wright’s life.

Fiona Rafferty said Judith Wright’s influences are everywhere at Calanthe.

“When I resided at Calanthe, I felt Judith Wright’s presence everywhere,” Ms Rafferty said..

“And after researching her work I was instantly inspired by her intelligence, compassion and strength,” she said.

Five things you may not know about Judith Wright She founded the Wildlife Preservation Society with David Fleay in 1962.She lived in Sydney Street at New Farm.She worked as a statistician at the University of Queensland.She was not an indigenous Australian. She was born in Armidale.She died in Canberra in June, 2000.

The Judith Wright Art Centre on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley is one of Brisbane’s most active art space, befitting the woman who wrote some of Queensland’s most powerful poems.

One of her earliest poems Bullocky contains the well-known lines:

“Beside his heavy-shouldered team, Thirsty with drought and chilled by rain,

He weathered all the striding years Till they ran wider shins in his brain.”

The exhibition – Reminiscence – runs until January 15, 2016 at the Judith Wright Centre in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley.

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