SALA 2017

It's SALA Time

At the official opening of SALA last Friday, I caught up with a wonderful old mate, an arts colleague from the 80s who continues to be so today. She commented to me how very special a day she'd had when she had volunteered in May this year as a photographic model for the new brand collateral for ZestFest, the re-visioned, revitalised and revamped festival for older people formerly known as the Every Generation Festival. She said it was a day that was significant to her one that would always remain in her memory.

PaulWhat knocked me sideways was night before, the first choir rehearsal after term break I had a deep conversation with a lovely woman who had just returned from the UK where she'd been visiting her family since early May. She waxed lyrical with the very similar sentiments about how wonderful her experience of that same day had been for her. Before that I'd received closely related reports of the day from other models. There's no doubt there was something poignant and remarkable about that day.

This caused me to reflect on why. I chatted with my husband about the possible reasons why as we took the dry clothes off line later that warm winter SALA opening night. We wondered if it might that most of us live our lives following regular patterns and habits, sticking to routines and generally living in familiar ways.

The ZestFest photo-shoot provided the opportunity for these people to come together spending the best part of a morning with 12 people who'd never met each other before. Connecting with other individuals in the time waiting between shoots, the walking to and from sites and over a sandwich and a cup of tea, allowed for people to learn about each other, share their stories and passions, find commonalities - like the two auto biographers - and generally simply relate to each other.

DaleI pondered that the opportunity the models embraced, to challenge the stereotypes of ageing may have been another factor about that day. To consider and openly present the ‘inner you', to really examine and then find a way to express what gives you zest in your life, and to challenge the common myths and attitudes to ageing meant that it was a mindful and meaningful experience. They also all found the courage and confidence to be a model for the shoot, challenging themselves to step out of their comfort zones.

They celebrated their acceptance of themselves, they celebrated their histories, they celebrated their passions, they celebrated their crafts, they celebrated their successes but most of all they shared their individuality. They celebrated each other.

So although I am not a South Australian Living Artist - I am a living South Australian who works in the creative sector and occasionally makes a little bit of art and magic when bringing people together. I think the experience the gang of models had at the ZestFest photo-shoot back in May was just that. Plus the poster is pretty bloody good - if I do say so myself! You'll be seeing a lot of it when ZestFest kicks off this October. And not by coincidence the three program threads of ZestFest are Connect, Challenge and Celebrate

SALA - SNAPSHOT modern ageingIn the meantime, why not pop along to COTA SA's very own SALA exhibition called SNAPSHOT - Modern Ageing - a mixed media exhibition featuring Rebecca Cambrell's mesmerising oils, Charles Southwood's striking pots, Elizabeth Fotiadis' moving installation, Akhtar Esmailzadeh's exquisite embroidery, Meryl Mansfield's traditional basket weaving and Teresa Jane Robinson's bold photographs of the wonderful Judy - Adelaide's very own Iris! The exhibition is open to the public each weekday (Mon - Fri) from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm August 2 - 30 at the COTA SA foyer, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide.

In the meantime I challenge you to start thinking about what gives you zest in your life! You just never know where it may lead you....
PS - see you around during SALA!