Fringe Myrtles Meeting, March 2023

The latest Fringe Myrtles meeting was held at Alice Wanderer’s wonderfully cosy bayside apartment on the outskirts of Melbourne. Alice prepared a lovely lunch which made the day a special social occasion for the group, as well as another opportunity to talk about haiku.

Attending in person were Alice, Louise Hopewell, Di Cousens, Jennifer Sutherland, Liv Saint-James, Myron Lysenko, Madhuri Pillai, Robbie Cairns, Marisa Fazio, Janet Howie and Rob Scott. And joining us on Zoom from Tasmania to present and discuss all matters haiga was Ron C. Moss.

Haiga has become a prominent haikai artform in recent years with many of our own members dabbling in it. Prior to the meeting Ron, probably Australia’s most accomplished haiga artist, was approached to provide his insights. Ron generously sent through lots of useful materials for discussion, including his works and thoughts on haiga. The group had plenty of questions for him when he joined the meeting, with many of them focusing on his techniques and the process of creating haiga. Ron had plenty of tips as to what makes a good haiga, including the use of space, texture and digital technology.

The discussion was lively and worthwhile, continuing well after Ron left the meeting. Robbie Cairns shared some of the haiga projects she has been involved in and proposed some activities for future Fringe Myrtle meetings, such as a photo haiga ginko and a haiga postcard activity. Rob and Liv, who have been collaborating on haiga for a couple of years, favouring an ekphrastic process in which Liv usually provides the drawings to Rob first, also presented their work.

The day left us with plenty to ponder, including the ‘rules’ of haiga. Similar to haibun, with its combination of poetry and prose, the impact of a haiga depends on the ‘conversation’ between the image and the haiku. The skill lies in the right amount of link and shift but there is no formula for what that might be.
Haiga can be abstract. It is also possible for the image in haiga to be illustrative of the poem (and vice versa) but not overly so. The idea is to complement each other, not explain.

“Art commences when artists stop representing simply what they are looking at, and begin representing what they are seeing.” Jim Kacian.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. A huge thank you to Alice for her generous hospitality and we look forward to more meetings at her lovely residence in the future.

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