dehydration

Yesterday, I tried valiantly, and with great determination, to return a faulty dishwasher. The person on the other end remained stolid. It was I, not the dishwasher, that was the anathema, the malfunctioning entity. There was much spewing of verbiage completely irrelevant to my pleas, throwing of sparkly dust hither-thither and blowing of bizarre smelling fumes into my face. Exhausted and worn out to the very crisp core, I finally threw in the proverbial towel, recognising this as an exercise of futility.  I threw out the dishwasher. It now sits, sad and forlorn, in the junk heap. I swear, when I walked past this morning, I saw a malevolent snigger painted across its glass face.

This morning, Lucy woke me up at 6am, asking to be taken outside for our morning walky. Without her, I am not sure I would have the strength to get out of bed, even though sleep, most of the time, is pretty much like the spawn from a trashy, poorly written novel and an elusive goblet of sweet wine.

My eyes hurt. A stabbing pain. My skull throbs. A vice across the front squeezing intermittently. My brain is screeching a high pitched, dehydrated and incomprehensible sprechstimme.

It’s still April. Yes, I did check.

This Autism Awareness thingy, and the chorus of dissent from the actually Autistic community (justified and worthy of support), has already kicked a deep dent into my fragile construction of Clement Space.

Today, I just want to celebrate April as Adopt a Greyhound Month. Please.

Here, I present to you, Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose. A collection of photos I created in 2015, about her innate ability to identify, take possession of, and craft intimate spaces of comfort and calm, wherever she may go. A skill I very much want to learn.

Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose 2015

Available as limited edition prints. Enquiries welcome.

Greyhounds are such pulchritudinous creatures. Adopt a Greyhound this April! Bring back beauty into your life, Oh, Weary Soul!

(Or, perhaps you might want to bring one of these limited edition prints into your home? It would help an Autistic Bunny and her Greyhound Angel to procure much needed rations for survival of April BlahBlah Month!)

Embracing Autism

My contribution to Embracing Autism Month – enough (misdirected) ‘awareness’ and moving beyond mere ‘acceptance’… how about we begin to embrace autism?

Thank you, Martin Guinness of Guinness Entertainment, for making this video!

Rough Transcript (by me):

My name is Dawn-joy. I am autistic. I was diagnosed in my early forties – I am fifty now. Living and coping with life in general has been the hugest challenge for me. Being autistic is not in itself a huge challenge, but being autistic and coping with living in a social system, a spatially designed system, that is not innate and often not kind towards innate autistic function, has been the greatest challenge in my life. Continue reading

beautiful sunday

2016-01-24-10.43.07lucyzz

petite aria

A beautiful Sunday of reassuring undulating rhythmic respite is unfolding… Yes, I am talking about working… At last… Some release, relief, trickling through from that too long frustrated thwarted desire… The excruciating agony of crippling entrapment, the fragile winged creature flutters inside its cage, the golden liquid swishing violently against the unyielding containment of harsh cold metal jar, longing to be set free… Continue reading

a different way of thinking

a different way of thinking - dawnjoy

A gentle wrap to what was another adventure-filled roller coaster year came in the form of this SBS Australia feature by Mark White, with visuals by Nick Cubbin and Damien Pleming, in which I played a small role being interviewed.

Here is the link to the article and videos: A Different Way of Thinking. Continue reading

Sonata in Z

Slogging away and frantically scrambling to get everything ready! One more week to go and it’s on with the show. If you are in Sydney, do drop by and say hello.
Sonata in Z announcement

Dawn-joy Leong and Lucy present

Sonata in Z

10-14 November 2015 | 10am-5pm

Nick Waterlow Gallery, UNSW Galleries

UNSW Art & Design, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

An autistic human,

A greyhound dog.

Parallel Embodiments,

A journey of Being.

Endeavour of Empathy,

Spaces of Mind.

Sonorous communion,

Wordless interlocuations.

Enter breafoot,

Scheherazade’s Sea:

Dancing

Awake

Inside dreams.

Sonata in Z is a ‘gentle space’, inspired by my autistic hyper sensory quest for sanctuary, and my Greyhound Lucy’s natural ability to seek out and create oases of comfort. Unfolding like a musical sonata, visual images of Lucy in sonorous repose introduce the theme of rest. Please leave your shoes at the threshold as you enter, symbolically shedding conventional notions of social communication. Once inside, we shall not speak in words, but the tranquility is neither silent nor empty, because our senses will lead the way into a different social ecosystem of softly undulating rhythms, patterns, sounds, movements, gestures, textures, smells, tastes and visual conversations. This is our refuge, an alternative empathic resonance, a nonverbal sensory equilibrium – and Lucy and I would like to share our clement space with you.

Check out Lucy’s photos and read the full description here!

haptic pyjamas

“Haptic pyjamas!” has been bouncing in my mindscape with sonic, rhythmic, and visual vim and vigour, refusing to make a quiet exit. I am not sure why, but I have a strong suspicion it has to do with this latest piece of work and its nocturnal unfolding.

Two fluffy 60x60cm cushion covers, a vegetarian dinner of stir fried flat rice noodles and red capsicum and a gentle evening doggy-walk later, I decided to embark on reworking the Haptic HugShrug. It was already 10pm when I began. Lucy was snoozing in her favourit fluffy rug, occasionally opening an eye to check on me, and interjecting the quiet night air with a huff and groan every now and then. She does not like it when I stay up late. Her bedtime hour is 8pm, and I usually crawl into bed with her, working on my laptop until she shoves my laptop off the bed at around 10pm. Our routine has been very much upset lately, of course. I managed to complete it at 12am, by which time I was nauseous and dizzy, but feeling rather chuffed.

The Haptic HugShrug was first created in 2012, as part of the Haptic Interface event in Hong Kong. It is inspired by the concept of deep pressure stimulation as a calming therapy. It is made from Woolmark Merino wool top, but instead of crochet, this version (#3) is arm knitted, giving it a looser weave and more floppy movement than the former two versions.

Dimensions approx 110x70x4cm.

Available for sale as part of the installation catalogue, 100% of proceeds will go to mindDog Australia. Reservations and all enquiries welcome. Please message me at scheherazades.sea@gmail.com

Educating Resting Minds (The Documentary: Unspoken)

How utterly brilliant is Emma? Looking forward to the movie!

Emma's Hope Book

Educating resting minds means patient repetition of mobile thinking.   My mind is lightning fast in a body whose parts often do things that give people a different impression.

How best to sway doubting minds?

They say write what you know and what could be better than having a film crew follow you around to document the lightning and the thunder.

Mom will add some things about the documentary, Unspoken, here now:

While Emma just wandered off, confident in my ability to take the baton she’s handed me and run with it, I’m not as sure.  So be kind to me.  I’ll do my best, but first, a couple of things about the documentary, Unspoken.

Unspoken is the name of the documentary Emma is co-directing with the very talented Julia Ngeow, produced by the equally talented Geneva Peschka and executive producer Marquise Stillwell from Open Box.   This is Emma’s…

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overwhelmed

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A long ramble. A not-well-written meandering babbling. But I am unable to execute beauteous sentences and coherent semantic tapestry. My mind is exploding, and here it is…

Sensory struggle. Anxiety overload. Overwhelmed by the mocking interplay and combined assault of the inexorable passage of time and mounting anxiety in a bizarre Call and Response (on perpetual da capo).

Then comes a flood of benevolence.

And I am engulfed in a deluge all over again – no, not anxiety this time, but a gentle humbling at the Hand of Grace.

The path of scholarship is never easy, and too many people struggle with crushing student debt. For me, it is an ongoing lesson in pespectival shifting and readjustment. My familial background eschews loans and looks down its nose at debt. When I won my PhD scholarship, I plunged into the real world of student debt. Ironic, but true. The scholarship stipend provided minimal living in the most expensive city in Australia. I scratched the bottom of the barrel and grasped for straws just to buy my passage, so as to take up the scholarship. Along the way, I needed help, a lot of help, which came from my one loving sister and her husband, and a few good friends. Each time I cried into the roaring void at a moment of panic and despair, Grace has answered in a soft still voice. Some old friends fell away, other friends I’ve known for ages stepped up and re-emerged, and I made new connections with people who have become trusted friends and loyal supporters. Trundling along in our rusty wheelbarrow.

Recently, my scholarship stipend ceased. My own college has stepped in to pay the tuition fees for this final semester, and for living expenses, a childhood friend in Singapore has generously extended a loan, as has another friend in the USA. And another friend has kindly offered a roof over our heads for the write-up months leading into submission.

My very pressing and present focus is on the upcoming exhibition, Sonata in Z 2015, marking the final part of a trilogy of experimental works in autism, parallel embodiment and alternative empathy.

As I hurtle through time and space, nearer and nearer to the setting up date, I grow more alarmed at the emptiness. I am one. And I have just one and a half months more to filling a space 10 metres by 3.5 metres, with a height of 2.8 metres, with all the luscious details and sensory engagement that I have in my mind. An impossible task. Yet, the show must go on. That has been the mantra of my life – perhaps of many an autist’s life, struggling through alien and inclement systems to forge some form of independence, hoping to make a tiny contribution to our worlds. But this time around, the show teeters on the mocking edge of the abyss of nothingness.

In this dismal setting, once more comes another wave. Of Grace. From Grace.

Last week, I received a surprise package from lovely friend and talented artist, Skye – beautiful hand crafted jewellery, a delicate necklace with horse-shoe pendant, a handbag, and a pack of trotters for Lucy.

Then on Saturday, my friend Rick came for our usual bruncheon session armed with gifts of sustenance. Water biscuits, Double Brie (no less!), fruit juice, and a tub of tiramisu!

Yesterday, lovely Rodrigo dropped by, bearing yet more wonderful presents, carried all the way across the world, from his travels in Europe and the UK.

Another precious bestowment, small but no less consequential – a CD of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 4 – from my friend M, who lives in a beat up old van.

A phone call from Lucy’s beloved Godma, Rose, also brought a sliver of hope to the bleak horizon. She suggested that I ask a crafting group for help, to create the small little details for Sonata in Z. I am not sure what may come of it, but I am deeply grateful to Rose for her vigorous and rigorous care and endorsement of my work and my very embodiment. Hope is sustenance in itself.

Strangely enough, during our bruncheon prattle, Rick and I somehow meandered into this biblical quotation, from the book of Hebrews 11:1.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Just as I was agonising early last week over budgeting for food, questioning my needs and muddling through the finances, making lists and cancelling orders in a cyclical manic haplessness, worrying about Lucy’s nutrition and projecting onwards to some necessary medical procedures in the near future, screaming into the resonant silence and mumbling to myself and anyone else who was willing to listen to my drivel how I need an army of Smurfs to help me complete the little yet monumentally volumnous details required in my upcoming exhibition – and wondering how I would make it through this final passage to the finishing line of my Grand Quest!

Grace once more intervenes. Not with small morsels of charity, but with a Tsunami of gentle affection and regard. I am overwhelmed. But not crushed.

My exhibition, Sonata in Z 2015, is about creating clement space within which grace provides strength and enabling of Beingness, and wherein empathy propagates and emanates across all states of existence. The process is as important as the corporeal creation, and Grace forms the architectural foundation of all my work, as well as the fountain of Living Water.

I thank my friends and supporters for their channeling of this profound clemency. We are building Clement Spaces together – and across neurological cultures too! Welcome to Scheherazade’s Sea!

ode

Here, a brilliant entity in itself, an ode to one artist by another artist, bridging all arbitrary generic divides… and resonant in its warm light… gentle prompting… speaking to the bodied distress emanating from a previous post of mine (insult).

Read the entire poem, I urge you, it is worth the few moments to take…

To the Brave Artist Richard Harrington, by Stephen Rifkin.

My favoured quote…

We forgive them all, those who

Speak to us of their views,

When they are interesting, catch us,

And we stand in wonder

In the dim light, alert as cats,

As quick to offend.

We appreciate your spheres.

Dub them Harringtons, for today.

(Stephen Rifkin, August 21st 2015.)