Poet Esther Gardiner will soon see her words come to life as she pairs up with an Indigenous artist as part of an Arts North West project.
“Arts North West asked me would I write a poem about country and landscape, so I chose Inverell,” she said. Esther will be teamed with Moree artist Lizzie Munroe, who will paint a piece inspired by her poetry.
The poem and artwork will both be on display at the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery as part of the Art Word Place exhibition from November 1, during the regional arts conference.
The exhibition features 18 writers and 18 artists from across the region, including Inverell artist Peter Champion, local writer Heather Kerridge and Warialda creatives Sharon Gilmore and Yvonne Ledingham.
“The main theme is about a river flowing and then it talks about corroborees. It’s a dreamtime poem. The river has no name, because whoever reads it, a river probably flows through their country,” Esther said.
She said she wanted to use a river to represent Inverell because rivers flow through all towns, and are “never ending”.
“That’s what I’d like to put in my poem, that the Aboriginal culture will be passed down, the stories and that, and it’ll be a never ending process,” she said.
“Even Inverell, it changes. It could be different in 10 years time, so it’s always changing and flowing like the river.”
Inverell Shire councilllor and long time supporter of Esther’s work, Paul King said the project was a prime example of the great things Arts North West can do for the local community. He was thrilled with the council’s choice to rejoin the regional arts body last year.
“It helps to promote people like Esther. She’s well known around this area here, but it promotes her in the whole New England area,” he said.
He said Arts North West was always able to think outside the box in producing projects well suited to the region.
“With this drought we’re in now, we need organisations like Arts North West to bring people together, because there’s a lot of people that need support, need to have a chat to somebody else, need to know that somebody else is in the same or a similar situation that they’re in, that they can do something,” he said.
Esther is excited to see the finished product, and honoured by the opportunity to represent Inverell in the regional art gallery.
Since publishing her second book last year, Esther has been polishing her writing skills, with support from an Arts North West mentoring program.
All of Esther’s poems start with a kernel of an idea, or a picture in her head and flow from there. Her family know to give her space whenever they see her scribbling down verses. Inspiration is key, and she can go from a month with no poetry to writing 12 in a week.