|ANohni performing Swanlights, Melbourne Festival 2012|
Just over a week ago I was watching ANohni perform Swanlights at Hamer Hall in thrall, captivated by her otherwordly voice and presence. It was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen. Like a beautiful ancient witch, she cast a powerful spell over the audience drawing us back into childlike awe. The innocence and purity was breathtaking.
There is a saying 'never meet your heroes' but I say do it! It's important to meet people living beyond the boundaries of what society tell us is achievable or even allowed. We are in a time now of reinvention and we must search out those who are already innovating in their work, their art, their lives. And not to idolise but to galvanise our own spirits and take steps towards extra-ordinary living. Two years ago when I sat down with the Vali Myers Trust and Outre Gallery to help to compile the beginnings of the book 'Night Flower' I sent an invitation to contribute out to people who I admired and who I knew in turn admired the incredible art of Vali Myers. One of the people I wanted to contact was ANohni, who I felt intuitively would love and understand Vali's life and art. But instead of trying to contact her, I felt shy and worried that I might be pestering her or asking too much. On Friday evening I had a beautiful invitation through Gemma and Martin of Outre Gallery who have helped Vali's star to rise through their golden treasure of a book, Night Flower, to meet and talk with ANohni at her exhibition Paradise and discovered that she had been inspired by Vali for years. I was of course, over the moon to discover this and also learnt the valuable lesson - trust your intuition!
Being in a room full of people who were waiting to talk with her, ANohni was calm and gracious and I loved the way that she got to the heart of the conservation quickly - why talk about the mundane? This reminded me of Vali so much - oh the talks Vali and ANohni could have had! We talked about the potent and almost overwhelming energy that Vali's art had on anyone who dared to go deeper. She told me it was hard to pull himself away from her diaries whilst visiting Outre Gallery. When I had the diaries in my home, I couldn't sleep and when I did I dreamt about Vali. In the end I had to take them out of my house to have a rest from their spirit! We also had a talk about the precious Swan.
ANohni too had her own fantastic tale of how Vali's spirit had reached out to her across the oceans. Four weeks ago she was walking along a street in New York when a piece of paper came twirling down the footpath towards her. It really caught her eye and she couldn't ignore it. She decided to pick up this piece of rubbish and when she opened it out to look at it, it was a Vali Myers poster. She instantly remembered her fascination with Vali from 20 years before and began searching on the internet to find out where she could find her artwork. What she found was that Night Flower was being birthed at that moment in Vali's hometown of Melbourne - the city she was travelling to in 2 weeks time to perform Swanlights.
|MISO : Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us|
|MISO working on the mural for NGV|
And as if that wasn't enough beauty for one night, whilst talking with ANohni we were joined by MISO, the artist Stanislava Pinchuk who created the incredible art-nouveau inspired work: 'Vali Myers is for Girls Like Us' that I fell in love with at the Night Flower exhibition. She had just arrived from working on a mural featuring Vali inside the National Gallery of Victoria. MISO is one of the most inspiring artists - you should have a look at her street artist and hand-made tattoos! I love MISO's visions of Vali and purchased a print of her work as soon as I saw it. She managed to convey Vali's regal wildness, the tough queendom of Vali's spirit that she drew is very real and true. MISO told me that she felt she had missed out because she'd never met Vali in person and I told her that by working with Vali's spirit you come to know her just as well. Over the years I have seen this many many times - strange connections, dreams and messages that come to artists as they work with energy. MISO agreed that she had noticed many strange synchronicities whilst creating her visions of Vali.
I see it as no coincidence that ANohni is touring Australia as Vali's star is rising and that MISO is bringing Vali to life inside the NGV by drawing her image directly on its walls! Like a thief in the night, Vali Myers is appearing stroke by stroke inside the NGV!! This is the magic and mystery of Vali's spirit. And in this year more than ever she is showing us that the spirit is eternal, immortal and can be inspirational kindling for anyone who takes the time to look deeper.
What a night, kindling for many fires to come. Love for the magical 3.
|Photo: Joel Elskins, late 1960s Chelsea Hotel|