In December I self published the River Business Children’s book. It’s an island creation and is conceived, set and made in Tasmania (lutruwita / trowunna). Tasmanian wildlife, landscapes and connections inspired all elements of the book, from character development through to printing. It’s a story of friendship, respect for river and sharing.
It can purchased through the web site https://www.riverbusiness.com.au/ or Hello Bronte, Lily & Dot The State Book Store, Hobart Book Store and Fullers Book store.
River Business brings focus to an unlikely but beautiful friendship between two night-time creatures. Through lyrical prose and soft illustrations, the book shows them sharing and overcoming their differences through joy, fun and river based play.
As parents, Sarah Jane and Erin want to surround their children with kindness, connection, love and friendship.
Tasmania is known as a place of great natural beauty and deep connections and
telling Tasmanian stories like this one will help build a shared understanding of this place, for locals and for those in other parts of the world.
The book shines a light on the Tasmanian Bettong (Bettongia gaimardi). Although once common throughout Australia, this species is now extinct in mainland Australia and is wholly protected with a near threatened status. The introduction of the European rabbit, land clearing and excessive grazing of stock are the main factors that have led to the decline in the population.
The Tasmanian Bettong is a small, kangaroo-like marsupial, with small paws, large feet and a very long tail. You’ll find the bettong in eastern Tasmania, where they enjoy eucalypt forests and grassy woodlands. They are nocturnal animals, spending daylight hours in camouflaged grassy nests.
The book is a climate friendly children’s book that honours the river and emphasises the importance of listening, caring and connecting to our natural water ways and engaging in nature-based play. It is kind to the planet and printed on 100% recycled paper using vegetable / soy-based inks. To avoid plastic, the paper is uncoated. It also has a stapled spine instead of harmful glues. At the end of its life, after being read by many children and adults, River Business can make its way back to the earth as compost.
A poetic essay; Worlding with Oysters
I am thrilled to have published my ‘Worlding with Oysters’ essay through story, text, poetics and image in the special issue of eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics. With a focus of art, science and marine environments I imagine rivers and oceans as essential learning spaces and places rich in diversity, story, hope and song. This is my first poetic essay form and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with Associate Professor Anita Lundberg, Editor-in Chief at eTropic. The special issue Environmental Artistic Practices and Indigeneity: In(ter) ventions, Recycling, Sovereignty brings together creative works, poetic essays and acadmic articles which address numerous forms of Indigenous artistic practices. This collection speaks literally and metaphorically of the ocean and the river ecosystems of the Pacific Islands, Australia, French Guiana, the Carribean and Southeast Asia.
I write from nipaluna, Hobart in lutruwita Tasmania, Australia. I overlook timtumili minanya, River Derwent from a land as ancient as the skies. I tell stories that tap into futures informed by the oldest continuing and living cultures imaginable. My worlding draws on connection to place, space and time. The stories I tell conjure oral histories and told cultures whose murmurings hover in lived memory. They shadow the written word and illuminate precious knowledge. I shine light on caves of understanding that are as old as the sun. I hurl my knowledge spears on and through and into 2050. I embrace past, present and future. My spears sense bright futures with high standards of caring for Country and ourselves. My spears sense hearts bursting with curiosity, cultural pride and deep joy. My spears sense reformed communities, connected in peace. I launch in hope.
Sarah Jane Moore, June 2020
Worlding with Oysters
On June 16 it was announced that I have been awarded a Create Australia Council Grant to support my visual art practise. I am thrilled to announce this and look forward to sharing my practise as the year progresses.
Why Sydney Rock Oysters?
Since working in the Science Faculty at UNSW Sydney in 2017, my professional art practice has nestled into the nexus between art and science, with a focus on the oyster. In 2018, I met UNSW Indigenous Scientia Fellow Dr Laura Parker (Wiradjuri) when she presented her dynamic research that mapped the ways in which oysters struggle to adjust to climate change. Meeting her and listening to the dire projections about the plight of Sydney’s oysters inspired me to shift my artistic practise to embrace arts activism, science communication and art works for change. In 2019, I secured the Australian Network Art Technology (ANAT) Synapse Artist in Residency funding and spent the year as the oyster artist in residence in Biological Earth and Environmental Science at UNSW. The residency culminated in academic publications, a community reef-building event; songs, poetry, lectures, workshops, a keynote for the Biosciences Education Australia Network Conference at the University of Melbourne; an exhibition at Culture at Work Art/Science Research Hub in Pyrmont and a commissioned performance at the University of Sydney for prominent oyster researcher Professor Pauline Ross.
What has been your experience of lock down?
To work professionally as an artist is sometimes a precarious place. It means sporadic income, applying for grants, hoping to sell art works from yearly exhibitions and relying on the good will of clients to invest in buying visual work, attend workshops and support the centrality of the creative arts in our daily worlding. In February I relocated to lutruwita Tasmania to care for family and lost most of my income, access to materials, gallery supports and buyer networks.
In 2020 my creative research dialogues continue to be supported by UNSW through an Adjunct Associate Lecturer role. This provides access to a lab/studio space and guidance from the UNSW Centre for Marine Science and Innovation alongside vital exposure to observe experiments that test the impacts of climate change and environmental stress on marine life.
In August I begin recording the three songs that I have written in lock down. They explore my Worlding with Oysters theme as I begin to prepare for my multi disciplinary exhibition in October 2020.
Anton Rehrl of Corvid Photography will continue to be working with me on digital outreach and I will be recording in Margate at Reel to Reel Studios for the first time and Oliver Gathercole will accompany me on the grand piano. Local photographer Nigel Richardson has agreed to photograph the experience and so watch this space for more images.
Please reach out, view my work, share an oyster story and create a connection.
Digitised galleries of my work can be viewed through the following links:
Yulia Nesterova and I began conceptualising work together after spending time together in Sydney Australia in November 2019. Despite some post covid set backs in negotiating face to face projects that workshop, make and play, Yulia and I were successful in being selected to write a back ground paper for UNESCO that imagines futures.
I write from nipaluna, Hobart in lutruwita Tasmania, Australia. I overlook timtumili minanya, River Derwent from a land as ancient as the skies. I tell stories that tap into futures informed by the oldest continuing and living cultures imaginable. My worlding draws on connection to place, space and time. The stories I tell conjure oral histories and told cultures whose murmurings hover in lived memory. They shadow the written word and illuminate precious knowledge. I hurl my knowledge spears on and through and into 2050. I embrace past, present and future. I launch in hope. I shine a light on caves of understanding that are as old as the sun. My spears sense bright futures with high standards of caring for Country and ourselves. My spears sense hearts bursting with curiosity, cultural pride and deep joy. My spears sense reformed communities, connected in peace.
Sarah Jane Moore, June 2020
Writing in partnership across the miles from lutruwita Tasmania to Glasgow with 17500 odd kilometres between us, Yulia and I have carved out time to imagine a future, together. As she sleeps, I wake. Each day/night grows the conversation. Indigenous approaches are driven by a deep commitment to nurture land and avoid unnecessary planetary travel and movements and so we have paid particular attention to our sharing and learning across the digital space. We have forged deep, creative and imaginative connections that have secured a local, global and democratic path and process towards imagining our future.
We have been worlding together and it has been delicious.
I lean on the ancient, breathe salt and chew seaweed.
I sing to you.
With love; SJ.
This work is entitled ‘Rock pools glisten; earth tides listen’ and was exhibited in my November 2019 show at the Accelerator Gallery through Culture at Work. It uses the ground Baludarri (Sydney Rock Oyster) shells that Wiradjuri Scientist Laura Parker seeded and studied in her research. Embedded in clay and using the gifted coquina shells Professor of Marine Sciences Pieter Visscher harvested in Western Australia. The coquinas are a critical part of the coastal ecosystem that keeps Shark Bay alive. When living, they are well adapted to the high salinity of the waters, when dead, they stabilize the shoreline of Gutharraguda, as Shark Bay’s name is in the language of the first peoples there. The work also includes lichen, bark and ground leaf matter and remembers the coastal pools that I peered into as a child on the East Coast of Tasmania and includes remnants of my mother’s crochet; her last acts of creativity before succumbing to cancer 30 years ago. Framed in flight by the single white cockatoo feather, it links gift, memory, loss and disruption with connection, interrelativity and oyster worlding.