Michael Leunig

Michael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet. 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.

His newspaper work appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. 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.

Quoted from : http://leunig.com.au/

In 1999, Michael Leunig was declared an Australian Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia. What a great decision! I have been a fan of Michael’s work for a while and a number of his books sit well-read on my bookshelf. Every New Year I buy his calendar and I also follow his instagram https://www.instagram.com/leunigstudio/?hl=en.

I noticed last month that The Sydney Film Festival 2019 featured a documentary called The Leunig Fragments about his life and work. It was directed by Kasimir Burgess. I was so disappointed to miss it and hope to see it one day. Here is a trailer:

Two years ago I had the privilege of seeing Michael Leunig in concert with Katie Noonan at the Sydney Opera House. It was called Gratitude and Grief. Michael and Katie’s collaboration was magical. The concert combined poetry, music and illustration. Michael would read one of his poems then Katie would perform it as a song. While she sang, Michael drew an illustration for the poem and the images were projected onto massive screen so we could watch as he worked. It was a unique and thoroughly entertaining experience! Here’s a taste:

Not long after I saw the concert I wrote this poem.

Our Living Treasure

tender stroke of felt tip
‘toon and curly quip
a spark
a rustle
a wink
a gift

on the brink
he sends out
a cappella notes
like doves to bless
and declare
our state of undress

Poet, Prayer, Prophet, Sayer
like that Holy Jester
of camel and needle fame
our Antipodean Fool
dusts off
old bones 
the odd
the out of tune
the precarious

The Loon
knows our bitter sweet 
teaches our fickle hearts
knows the crux 
of our ferocious woes
and the antidotes
of those
knows righteous rage
and fringe dwelling
slow-dances with shadows 
and truth telling
sows wild blooms
in deserts of tears
and beckons a smile

©2019 Belle Perry

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sharing creativity, community and simple living in the Blue Mountains

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