Haiku inspires award-winning art

Visual art has inspired a number of my written works, such as the extended poetic suite ‘In the soft light of dawn’, which was inspired by a human landscape painted by Rod Moss, ‘Anthropology: being themselves’. The poem sequence won the Northern Territory Literary Award for Poetry in 2017. [Read the poem here.]

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that a poem of mine (from my collection Portraits of Country: haiku for Central Australia) inspired a painting by Alice Springs artist, Dugald Beattie, and that his painting, ‘This country – tough love’, won the Stories Section Prize in the Advocate Art Award 2022.

Dugald brings a Pop Art sensibility to a story of tough country. Riffing off a haiku poem by Michael Giacometti, he lures the viewer in with warm pastel and candy colours, only to confront us with the harsh natural cycles of life and death.

Said Dugald about the poem and painting: “When walking in Emily Gap I found the body of a wallaby which had been struck by a falling tree which had been consumed by fire. It reminded me of how hard life can be in our environment. Michael’s haiku says it all.”