Every now and again, I am asked to MC or make a speech. In fact the first time the idea to be a marriage celebrant popped into my head was at an Exhibition opening at which I was volunteer MC.
So when asked to give the opening address to an exhibition including my own artwork and that of my artist husband Stephen, I jumped at the chance.
The Gallery is Rosebed Street Gallery, in the tiny but creative town of Eudlo. Run by an inspired woman, Maya Malins, it is an oasis of creativity and talent.
The show is called Minutiae, celebrating small works, in a small town, and the small details of life. It is open until 23rd February 2014.Minutiae; notes from a speech by Kari at the opening of Minutiae exhibition at Rosebed Street Gallery, Eudlo on Friday 6th December 2013
At the outset, I’d like to thank the caretakers of this land.
Firstly the traditional landowners, the indigenous elders, but also the traditional ordinary people, who all cared for this country for 10’s of thousands of years.
Secondly the current caretakers, the locals who care for and look after this little country town and make it the oasis of community that it is today.
And lastly the future caretakers, our children’s children who will come to care for this little patch of ground called Eudlo. Thank you to the caretakers of the land.
I’d like to recount a memory from my own youth. Imagine a young Kari, about 16 years old. Well at that age, I knew it all… of course! I was just about to graduate from High School, and prided myself on being an independent young woman, with a gentle feminist outlook on the world. As a recently chosen exchange student, part of my responsibility was to attend a few Rotary meetings. In those days, Rotary was still reserved for male members, with wives attending only on special occasions. So already I felt special for being there at a members meeting, but also on behalf of my gender, somewhat miffed as well!
A Rotarian stood as guest speaker to deliver the formal address for the night. He began, “When I was married 40 something years ago, I made a deal with my wife to be. I said, ‘Darling, I will take care of all the major decisions in our lives…and you my dear, shall take care of all the small decisions in our lives together.’ ”
You can just imagine the hackles beginning to rise on this feminist’s neck, as the young version of me bristled and prepared to shut my ears, and my mind, for the ensuing speech. Fortunately, before I tuned out completely, he went on to say..” And you know, in 49 years of marriage, I have not had to make a decision yet.”
I swallowed my pride in an instant as his message hit home.
So you see, the small things are really the big things.
The minutiae are the main event.
The detail creates the big picture.
In preparing this talk, one is drawn to the thesaurus for inspiration.
Minutiae, a lovely word on the tongue, conjures up other notions; particular, individuality, singularity, idiosyncrasy. Each of the 43 artists exhibiting here has an individual approach, a particular idiosyncrastic mix of skill and creativity. Small works invite a closer scrutiny, a private moment with the artist and the art, an opportunity for an intimate moment.
Artists are fabulous at seeing the detail. They are attending to minutiae every moment of their creative lives. Over many years, they hone a thousand little movements that amount to a large body of skills: their attention to the way to hold a brush so the stroke is pure, or hammer a piece of silver exactly to round, or select a precise colour or shade, locate a bead or a button. In their work it is the little details that create the picture; a word, a thread, the mark of a potters finger print in a glaze. And it is the set of minute and many skills that matter; the deftness of a hand or an eye in developing their craft. The Japanese say it takes 10,000 pots to make a potter. In music it is 10,000 hours of notes.
As you cast your eye around this exhibition of 100’s of small works, it is the detail that will capture your imagination, the precision, the tiny worlds within these pieces that will entrance. There are 100’s of facets in every work.
Then there are the attributes you may not see; the precision of stretching a canvas just so, the final sanding to bring out a certain sheen, the placement of a screw or twist of wire to hang the work. Without these details, the work won’t hang in the gallery.
Not a small thing
Today I heard a worrying statistic. In Australia there used to be up to 2700 Art Galleries. Today 800 remain.
It is NOT a small thing that THIS gallery is still open. It is a credit to this community, and specifically a few inspired individuals, that it is still a vibrant place of people and art. It is the huge effort by a few who have kept the doors open, but also credit to the many small things that many do to keep it alive. This little Gallery, and its community, is a giant in today’s gallery scene.
A big gift
And now as we approach Christmas, we all have the opportunity to think about the little things that matter, family, community, and have the chance to support local in a meaningful way, buy buying local, by keeping our dollars here in this community.
For each work consider who in your christmas list would appreciate a unique piece of art, something NOT bought online. Remember that each local purchase gives more than once, gives to your loved person, to the artist, contributes to keeping this gallery alive, and keeping events such as this evening happening. Thinking Global, acting local, we can put these fancy slogans into action right here.
And when I think of how just one person can make a difference, I could not allow tonight to go by without mentioning one special person, who today passed away from this world leaving a giant fingerprint on the heart of the entire world’s population.
In appreciation of the humble man, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, I quote him;
“There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Minutiae is not small.
Take a glimpse at some of the works.