My regular readers know that I am a great fan of Australian National Living Treasure Michael Leunig. His cartoons, art and poetry are absurd and brilliant. His unique talent and philosophy is simple, soulful and mystical. I am so excited that he is coming back to Brisbane on Wednesday 18 July.
This event is the finale to the Abundant Justice and Prophetic Imagination gathering being hosted at Saint John's Cathedral at 373 Ann Street, Brisbane. The full ticket to AbundantJustice18 includes entry to this special evening event plus 2 others. For more details, full programme and bookings please visit Abundant Justice.
Come along and immerse yourself in art, spirituality and justice. You can explore questions such as:
What makes us human?
How can we understand our complex world?
What are the opportunities of living in an ever-changing world?
What should we make of the current direction of Australian society?
How can we make a positive contribution to our community?
Carved Pulpit (image by May Cross)
The evening kicks off at 7.00 pm and will finish up at 9.00 pm. You will be treated to a performance by the wonderful Queensland Kodaly Choir, including a couple of pieces composed using verses by Michael Leunig. The show features a special talk by Michael Leunig, followed by a conversation with the very Reverend Dr Peter Catt who is Dean of St John's Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, and Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce. There will be other special speakers, and an audience question and answer session.
You are invited to arrive a little earlier, to walk around the magnificent St John's Anglican Cathedral, at 373 Ann Street in Brisbane. You will be able to enjoy a drink and view the current art exhibition by Moran Art finalist, Glenn Loughery. St John's is the mother church of the Diocese of Brisbane which was created in 1859. The Foundation Stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1901 and works proceeded in three stages until 2009. The Cathedral is not only the Parish Church for the local congregation but also it is a gallery space, a venue for musical performance, a historic building and a space for quiet reflection within the busy CBD. Worship, music, art words or silence - the choice is yours.
Stone Vaulted Ceiling (image by May Cross)
The Cathedral has the distinction of having the only fully stone-vaulted ceiling in Australia. The organ is one of the largest in Australia utilises over 4,000 pipes to fill the Cathedral with a joyful sound. One (or two) of my favourite things is the pair of stained glass windows which depict two eagles flying towards each other, representing Australia and the USA. The "Light, Hope, Courage and Friendship" banner describes our relationship during World War II.
Stained Glass Eagles (image by May Cross)
Who is Leunig? Leunig (like Cher, he needs only one name) is an Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet. And an Australian National Living Treasure. His commentary on political, cultural and emotional life spans more than forty years and has often explored the idea of an innocent and sacred personal world. The fragile ecosystem of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world is a related and recurrent theme.
You may have seen his work in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, to which he contributes regularly. He describes his approach as, "regressive, humorous, messy, mystical, primal and vaudevillian - producing work which is open to many interpretations and has been widely adapted in education, music, theatre, psychotherapy and spiritual life." He is a frequent visitor to Brisbane and made an appearance at this year's Brisbane Festival of Tibet 10th Anniversary and created several works of art in real time accompanied to music. He was also guest at the 21st Queensland Poetry Festival.
Mug by Leunig (photo by Cross)
"Come sit down beside me, " I said to myself.
And although it doesn't make sense, I held my own hand as a small sign of trust And together I sat on the fence.