A note from the Arts and Essays Editor on issue 91

One of my favourite parts about the role of Arts Editor is that not only do I get to choose the artist featured in each issue, but also decide on the cover. This is a task of immense responsibility. It’s the face of the magazine and the first thing that people see. It’s not necessarily just about promoting an artist whose work I find interesting (though that’s a big part of it), or even my own personal aesthetic preferences: it’s also about considering how it reflects the magazine’s contents. Does the art have something to say to an audience of readers and writers? Would it intrigue the casual browser in the book shop? I probably also tend to favour Canterbury artists (though not exclusively), because of the geographical character of takahē. These and a clowder of gut feelings, obscure reasonings, and socio-politco-anthro-historio-cultural considerations flit through my mind when I make these decisions.

Marie Le Lievre’s work ticks all those boxes. I chose the front cover image Charm Lore from her 2016 Bulletproof Falling series for a number of reasons. The works in the series bring together painting, drawing, inkjet printing, abstraction and figuration, in the same way takahē brings together so many different forms, styles and genres of writing. Charm Lore stood out for me in particular. At the heart of the image is the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, wife of the the pharaoh Akhenaten, and thought to have been crafted by the sculptor Thutmose in around 1345 BCE. With the abstract forms weaving around her head like ideas, or pouring forth from her mouth like words, I thought her an excellent metaphor for a writer.

Thanks to Marie, and her Wellington dealer Bartley + Company Art for the use of the images. More of her work can be seen there or through Christchurch’s Jonathan Smart Gallery. Marie is also having a major solo show of new work with Bartley + Company Art in early 2018. Thanks also to Dr Maria Walls for her thought provoking teasing out of Marie’s work.

With my Essays hat on, can I also say how delighted I am that Alie Benge, author of the essay “Immigrant” in this issue, is the co-winner of Landfall‘s 2017 essay competition. “Immigrant” is a remarkable exploration of the history of Croatian migrants to Auckland and the community as it exists today. I was captivated by the language, Alie’s eye for detail, and her ability to paint a picture in words, in a piece of writing that is at once both deeply personal and a thoughtful consideration of the broader social context. It managed to be both a personal essay, and an important snapshot of recent history, but also thoughtfully engage with issues around national identity, marginalisation, assimilation, and the question of what being a “New Zealander” might actually mean.

I am so very happy to be able to offer takahē‘s warmest congratulations to Alie.

APW

We are reading short stories for the April issue of takahe

Our short story competition is over… but if you missed the deadline we would welcome your work as a submission for our April print issue. We are currently making our selection and will continue the process until the middle of January. So you’ve several weeks to get that story perfect. We look forward to reading it.

Marie Le Lievre – our featured artist for Issue 91

Coming very soon….Dr Maria Walls, interdisciplinary fine artist and writer, writes about the work of artist Marie Le Lievre, whose work features on our beautiful front cover.

“There is a flash of live energy, an atmosphere of announcement, which must surely reflect Le Lievre’s own sense of defiance in making such work. These paintings are such essential reductions – intrepid colours, audacious shapes – yet all the elements unite to spawn knotty emotion.”

Charm Lore (Panel) graphite, oil, gesso. ink on wood panel 600 x 600mm

Our Short Story Competition ends on November 30th

Thanks to all of you who’ve entered our short story competition. Our judge, Eileen Merriman, is enjoying reading your writing.

To those still working on their stories, we’re looking forward to receiving them. Remember, there is no limit on the number of entries you can submit. For more information do look at our competition page and get writing!

And our guest poet is…..

…Doc Drumheller!

The takahē team have been hard at work over the past couple of months and we are very excited to bring Issue 91 your way in a few weeks time, including new work from poet Doc Drumheller.

Well-known for his performance poetry in Aotearoa and overseas, Doc has worked in award-winning groups for theatre and music and has published 10 collections of poetry. He lives in Oxford, where he edits and publishes the literary journal Catalyst.

Here’s what he has to say about his new work in takahē – “Travel inspires many of my poems and these were all composed in pocket notebooks while I visited Sofia, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City and Guanajuato, during several poetry tours with performances at international poetry festivals, conferences, and cultural events. ”

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