Ghosts, an Indian boatman and 101 lost kittens………

It’s the first week of winter and the cold has already begun to cling.   For quite some time my days have been filled with work so a day off, quite selfishly all to myself, has been wonderful and made even more so due the scarcity of them lately.  Rising early I grabbed a coffee and headed to the beach which was deserted, blustery and cold.  A massive swell hit our coastline bringing with it huge waves, chop and wash.  Somehow though, for all its bitter chill there was much warmth in this lovely day.

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Although other things in my life are sorely neglected at present, I am inordinately happy.  I baked last night toasting pecans, weighing butter and roughly chopping dark chocolate late into the evening.  Before I knew it I had whisked and folded into the early hours of the next day.  It was lovely though as my home was quietly dark and filled with the rich scent that only brown sugar when baking can bring.  The little cat content and I lost in thought while listening to the radio and watching for the oven temp to rise.  Finally to bed, I dreamt.  Haunting images often disturb my sleep and on this night my sometimes nebulous eidolon came beautifully clear to me.  I woke early feeling that way you feel when a harsh jetlag or far too much gin sees you somewhere between midnight and god knows where.

We all have our ghosts, real or imagined, which haunt us in different ways.  Though our loss, memories or unresolved issues are not physically present, they are still very much around us.   I have often tried to release a ghost only to become more haunted and I cannot but wonder why we carry these signifiers around for as much as we move on, these stubborn constellations of our past and of our future remain.  Perhaps there is much gratitude to be sought in the belief that time, in her most graceful of ways, heals all.  Little by little the passage of time will take away some of those ghosts, the hurt or a raging grief to bring you to a point where you begin to no longer mourn that which is lost to you……..even when you still dream about them.

The street art of George Town Penang…….

One of the things I love most about George Town are the strikingly beautiful street art murals.

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These charming depictions of children and life and the detailed heritage nod to the urban allure of this city are works which cannot be constrained to any one gallery.  Breathing life into and capturing the winsome spirit so essentially George Town, they are pieces which need to live and exist upon the crumbling walls and in the winding streets and alleys of this ancient city.

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Hailing for Lithuania, the brilliant artist Ernest Zacharevic, is possibly the reason the street art scene became so prevalent in Penang.  His wonderfully iconic and life-like images of children and heritage would bring joy to the harshest of art critics hearts.

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I am drawn to the thought of Artivism, (which is my belief in that lovely cross over between art/activism and advocacy), when I think of the works 101 lost kittens.  These thought provoking images are a collection of around twelve cat related works aimed to create awareness toward the strays of George Town.  How wonderful is that.

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Not only are there painted and 3D images, but also wrought iron sculptures looking so very like a neat charcoal sketch imparting tiny snippets of the history of the area in which they are located.

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These wondrous works are succumbing to the elements.  Over time, they have flaked and faded due to their exposure to the harshest of elements and of course human intervention is also a contributor.  You will find most of these works though by picking up a map and following it until your heart is content or hire a trishaw driver for a few hours as they know all of the places these works are located.

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The Boatman of India…..

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For me though, I just preferred to wander the streets and stumble upon these art works as there is far more joy for me in the anticipation of a discovery which is unplanned.  It was here too in the back streets where the small skittish cats roam that I began to really appreciate the serendipitous beauty of George Town as my moseying often took me through the more unique, interesting and oftentimes bleaker areas of the city.

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During my hunt for the street art of George Town the city began to look so very different and I knew it could never appear the same again.  And ghosts or no ghosts, we all have that which haunts.  The saving grace however, is to find that which is wonderful and to cherish the small moments or to perhaps discover a little piece of art on a wall somewhere……..x

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Colour Me Happy – the ‘Street Art Walk’ of Katoomba…….

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Located west of Sydney, lovely Katoomba with its backdrop of the spectacular World Heritage listed Blue Mountains, steep streets, art deco buildings and heritage homes is one of the most popular mountain townships in New South Wales.  It is here you will also find an emerging and very impressive restaurant subculture, hip wine bars, fab op shops, a vibrant community and …………street art!

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There is something about street art that I absolutely love.  Perhaps it is the visual impact or the fact I adore the slightly rebellious undertone of it all but I do know that wherever I am in the world I seek this sort of work out.

I tend to like big mural works, pieces and stencils and I am now also discovering ‘yarn bombing’.   A granny graffiti of sorts which I find rather sweet.  Creative knitters and crocheters who will cover pretty much anything with wool, cotton thread or twine.

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And in Katoomba, with brick and concrete as their canvases, passionate and creative artists along with the support of the Blue Mountains community have created a dynamic street art gallery.   This visually stunning space is located right in the heart of Katoomba and it has seemingly transformed a once grim urban landscape with color, vibrancy and thought provoking beauty.

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Street art has become a global phenomenon and I really do believe there is a depth of cultural significance and great worth to this clever, entertaining, often powerful and engaging work.  A unique open air gallery for all to enjoy and where selfless street artists, no longer marginalised or vilified, freely offered up their work.  And when you think about it, that really does have a lovely sense of karma to it…………

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Recently in Newcastle we lost a stunning piece of street art by artist Guido Van Helton.  I saw this work easily three times a week and loved the beauty of it and the fact it reminded me of crumpled paper.  Naturally I ask the question ?, as do many……..

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We are coming to end of winter here in Australia and I viewed the Katoomba work on a bitterly cold and wind swept day.  Standing under a brittle grey sky I realised over time this work will no doubt erode or fade due to the influence of our severe and unforgiving Australian elements but such is the ephemeral nature of this sort of art.

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In the meantime though……. touch it, see it, appreciate it, photograph it and be coloured happy by these works of art which have breathed life into a previously neglected and unappealing city area.

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**Open all hours and free, the Street Art Walk is located at Beverly Place Katoomba**

With a rainy and cold winters evening upon us I am about to settle in with the sweet little Zoe cat, a glass of red and begin to unravel the history of yarn bombing.  Cheers to a bit of knit one purl one………xx