Saturday, 2 July 2022

Paramontage showing No. 1 - 'Return' (a type-2)

I chose this paramontage titled ‘Return’ to start this series of videos having taken it the day before to a meeting of friends at a cafĂ© in Alexandria. I showed the work round and the feedback was generally positive. The video below goes for about 3 minutes and you're reading the script.

The small poem was written in 2021 and the sonnet was written on 19 November 2010. The photos were taken at the time of the massacre commemorative event in 2011. The short poem goes like this:

I long for
a path,

in the valley
of dreams

I named the paramontage after the short poem when I made it this year. Myall Creek came up as a topic of discussion at the lunch not only because of the artwork but because a woman who was there is related to Denny Day, the magistrate who was the first of many people in positions of authority to investigate the crimes, which took place in 1838. Catherine showed me a web page about another ancestor that had a painted portrait on it.

In the paramontage you can see a man named Lyall Monro and I made him prominent because of the central role he played in the establishment of the memorial, which took place in 2000. I had to crop and blow up one photo in my collection to make him large enough to feature, though you can also see him standing in other photos taken at the time.

Myall Creek is unique in many ways as a site of reconciliation and the event is held every year during the queen’s birthday weekend. I went a few times but it’s too far for my heart nowadays. At this year’s event hundreds of people turned up with an estimated 40 percent being newcomers.

The sonnet goes like this:

Fire’s the best thing for murder’s disguising.
Caw, caw, carrion crow. Hey, Derry down.
Dark shapes hop about and smoke is rising
up on the tablelands where there’s no town,

no women and no magistrate, just scrub
fit only to clear to make room for kine.
In the silence the black heads swivel up
as a presence moves along the incline,

and now footfalls sound among the earthward-
slung branches and grey leaves; the crows retreat
and a man surveys the remains, his sword
like a wing grossly swinging in the heat.

There were some women but this day they’re gone
writ in the lists of the wretched and torn.

I didn’t take so many photos in 2011 because it was my third time attending and the novelty had become diluted somewhat, though I stay involved in other ways. Since its establishment the site has been developed and there’s now an amphitheatre for dances. Further enhancements are planned.


Unknown said...

Thanks Matthew. Love the sonnet.
All the best
Pete S

Basia Sokolowska said...

It is nice to hear your read the poems. I find the short poem very evocative. And I like the way you arranged the photos of this paramontage to make the whole composition as a landscape with the sky and the trees at the top and people lower down. Also including a close up of an important in this situation person works well. I think it is a very well thought out work combining images and poems that work in many levels, has subtleties. Myall Creek Massacre is a traumatic and important event in Australian history and this paramontage touches on the discussion, commemoration of this event and becomes a voice in this discussion, a very well informed one, as well personal and poetic.

Matthew da Silva said...

Yeh the short poem is quite nice, thx. I haven't combined sonnet and 6-line poem on any other type-2 paramontage since this one, the reason for the prominence of the poems being that it was my 3rd time at the event and I didn't take as many photos in 2011. So there wasn't as much visual material to use for 'Return'.