Writing Retreat Cruise #1

As followers of my blog would know, I went on an amazing writing retreat over February-March for 3 weeks. Over the next few weeks I thought I would share some of the highlights from my trip 🙂

The majority of the retreat was spent on a cruise (more of that in later posts). There were 4 of us from my writing group who went – we all arrived in Perth, Western Australia two days before the cruise departed, so that gave us a full day in Perth.

We had a wonderful day with two highlights – the first was visiting the Art Gallery of Western Australia, specifically to see an exhibition called Awavena. It was an intimate, emotional experience.

from: Awavenavr.com

Awavena is a collaboration between an artist and a community, melding technology and transcendent experience so that a vision can be shared, and a story told of a people ascending from the edge of extinction. It is an unmissable experience and a gift from the Yawanawa at a time of peril for their people. They hope our experience of Awavena will shift our consciousness and change the way we perceive the world and the decisions we make.


For the Amazonian Yawanawa, ‘medicine’ has the power to travel you in a vision to a place you have never been. Hushahu, the first woman shaman of the Yawanawa, uses VR like medicine to open a portal to another way of knowing. Using technology that the Yawanawa feel enables them to share their story and their visions, this immersive work presents point cloud renditions and fluorescent specimens from the forest world, to create a vivid, luminous vision.


While there, I also got the chance to look through the AGWA Historical Collection. I was excited to see an iconic Australian painting, “Down on His Luck” (1889) by Frederick McCubbin:

But my favourite was a painting by Hans Heysen, “Droving into the Light” (1914-1921). As the title suggest, the artists use of lighting in this painting is breathtaking:

To be continued…

12 comments on “Writing Retreat Cruise #1

  1. What wonderful artistry. I love the idea of the Awavena. I will be digging into them. And the ‘Down on his Luck’ cowboy–could be right here in the old American west. The romantic life of a cowboy too often ended up like that painting.

    • Awavena was nothing like I’ve experienced before. The use of VR was perfect (and at the end, they gave us a cup of chamomile tea and invited us to leave a message of our experience in a book that will be sent back to their people).

      I don’t think there was anything romantic about the life of a drover (or cowboy)!

  2. Those paintings are lovely! I’m looking forward to learning about your writing retreat.

    • The retreat was brilliant (as you’ll see over the next few weeks). When the world returns to normal I will definitely try and get another writing retreat cruise in!

  3. Oooh, looks like it was a great exhibit.

    • It was, Liz. I’d never been to the WA Gallery before, so it’s always fun to visit a new place.

  4. Looking forward to the to be continued… already amazing!

  5. What a wonderful experience you had! I’ve been to Perth, but only long enough to go to Swancon, so I missed the gallery. Looking forward to reading about the actual writing retreat. So good that you got it in on time!

    Next time you are in Melbourne, after al, this is over, spare me a day to visit OUR galleries. One of them is the European one(St Kilda Rd), the other is the Australian gallery, in Federation Square, plus there is usually something on at ACMI in the same lot of buildings.

  6. I am so relieved (in hindsight) that we got it in. At the time, we didn’t realise how close it really was.

    And yes, that sounds like a great plan, Sue (when this is all over…) 🙂

  7. What beautiful experiences! Imagine being able to paint like that!

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