Spirited landscapes with a twist

Spirited landscapes with a twistIF a writer were to turn the life of Joe Alimindjin Rootsey into a novel, it would require someone of John Steinbeck's power to do it justice.

Steinbeck had what such a story would take: the sensibility towards pathos and the courage to make the ordinary epic. He also had the skill to control a narrative that could and fall into cliched melodrama. Only a Steinbeck would be grand enough and sure-footed enough to find the narrative voice that would do justice to the tale of the artist.

Contemporary works alive with the rhythms of the past

Contemporary works alive with the rhythms of the pastDISPLAYED in the cavernous interiors of two World War II-era concrete storage bunkers, the works on view at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair offer an intriguing overview of Queensland's Aboriginal art-making traditions, present and past.

Here are urban indigenous art pieces, strong and hard, set beside delicate print works from the Torres Strait, woven and ceramic pieces brought to life in new art centres, even historical surveys of half-forgotten mid-20th-century precursors from the far north.

Desert tales

Desert talesHe was criticised for making his protagonist an Aboriginal woman, but crime writer Adrian Hyland says it is just his way of bridging Australia's greatest cultural divide.

THE main character in Adrian Hyland's two crime novels is a young black woman called Emily Tempest. In the first, Diamond Dove, she is an amateur detective. In the second, Gunshot Road, she's become an Aboriginal community police officer.

Believers see the light deep in the Peruvian jungle

Believers see the light deep in the Peruvian junglePeru: KEVIN Simmons, a 28-year-old American, says he was stuck - depressed, locked away in his home and taking months to answer an email.

He found the road to recovery deep in the Peruvian jungle, in the form of a sludge-like concoction the Indians call ''the sacred vine of the soul''.

From a stringybark tree a canoe grows

From a stringybark tree a canoe grows A long-forgotten Aboriginal skill has been revived in a south coast forest, writes Steve Meacham.

It has been 170 years since a full-sized ''nawi'' or traditional Aboriginal bark canoe capable of carrying two or three adults has appeared on the ever-moving waters of Sydney Harbour. Drawings and paintings showing the canoes co-existing alongside English sailing ships faded from view in the mid-1830s.

So why were a trio of dedicated enthusiasts delicately stripping the bark from a selected stringybark tree deep in a little-known Aboriginal lands council reserve on the south coast of NSW on a chilly winter's morning last month?