Been There, Done That

by John posted January 31, 2018 category Illustration, Travel
John Patten in Cairo

John Patten in Cairo

As always, there’s a lot to write about. Big adventures, big changes.

In October 2017 I headed overseas again as I travelled to the Middle East, working on an oral history project in association with the Rona Tranby Trust who are based in Sydney. It was to document the stories of my ancestors who served in the Australian military, with a particular focus on my Great Uncle, Peter Ross (13th Lighthorse Battalion, WWI).

Being awarded the fellowship, along with 9 other Indigenous descendants of servicemen and women, I was asked if in my travels I would be willing to be a part of the tour being undertaken by Australian Lighthorse association. I thought that was a good idea which had a lot of merit, particularly as I had intended my project to be a visual one. My aim was to produce a documentary film. I met a lot of quality people, enjoyed learning a great deal about of the world I’d never been to and I was able to take part in an especially unique event. But with that I was also asked – can I ride a horse!

The answer is yes, I can ride a horse, but my experiences are rather limited and I really didn’t feel I was up to the task of taking part in a 3-day ride through the Nagev desert, or participating in a re-enactment of the famous Lighthorse charge at Be’er sheva. I certainly didn’t have the time to get myself up to scratch in time anyway. It was great just being there and documenting all of the amazing experiences.

The tour took 3 week, stopping briefly at Changi airport in Singapore and then venturing on to the Middle East, touring Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and with views into Syria and Lebanon.
So far I’ve edited two sections of the journey, with a lot more work to be done. These will be re-edited, with narration. But for now they are little more than pretty pictures set to music.
As a challenge, I decided to shoot all of my footage using my iPhone. I’m pretty happy with the results. What do you think?

Upon returning home I was faced with a new challenge. My organisation had been going through a restructure and with that I also have a new role. Fortunately it was one for which I had the opportunity to write the role statement, with approval from my new boss. I’m looking forward to it and it will certainly be a change in approach, moving from managing a museum, to now driving employment strategies, training programs and working even more closely with the community, particularly in sharing and promoting Koori culture. Exciting times.

I’ve had about 5 weeks holidays, with a week back at work in the middle. In that time I’ve had a lot of projects in play, but mostly it’s been about just spending quality time with my family. The projects however were an odd mix. I produced my first lino cut print since high school, which I was pretty happy with (see below). I built a lego table for my children, which was fun, but I must admit – I had no idea how much of a puzzle it would be to produce a viable, sensible roadway, using a set number of road baseplates, particularly when you are forced to purchase them in packs of two and they sell useless plates with the most popular. Still, I managed to figure it out without any waste. Really, this is much more of an achievement than you might imagine!

Serpent lino cut by John T Patten

Serpent lino cut by John T Patten

I also managed to produce my first thrown pottery after I purchased a pottery wheel for Christmas. A lot of fun, but I think this is really the first time that I’ve attempted an art form that hasn’t been immediately simply due to transferable skills. It will take a little while to get the hang of, particularly as I work out what clay and methodologies will suit me.

Lots of other things have been happening. I hung out for a day with dingo puppies, wrote an article about Australia Day, took part in a re-enactment of the 1938 Day of Mourning, began planning for a couple of new Youtube channels and also began preparations for the production of a new website dedicated to my interests in film, pop culture and anything else grabs my interest. Stay tuned.

Day of Mourning 2018

Day of Mourning 2018

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