Poetry And Peace On Lightyears Of Travel

Anto, and his wife Margaret Kerins  landed in Lanzarote last week with a 3 A2 poster triptych of poetry they are submitting for a forthcoming festival here on Lanzarote entitled  ‘Poems In A Life Of Change’ That, too, is the title of a series of many festivals that will be taking place around the world this year under the banner of the Metamorphoses initiative.

Anton´s triptych carries a short collection of original poems and gathered under his title sub-title of Spring – War – Summer and effectively follows the period following 24 February 2022 when Putin had Russia invade Ukraine. That act and changed things dramatically for so many people, whilst in the background spring was changing nature, that would eventually be changed again by the onset of summer.

The triptych panels read from left to right as
Poems for Spring
Poems in a Time of War
Poems for Summer
and Anto has come over to Lanzarote to present his work to a lady he refers to as ¨Sarah-Jane, a treasure in the arts firmament for all the work she does.´

I met Anto, and his lovely wife Margaret, (the long suffering spouse of a poet, as is my wife Dee). We had a great introductory chat in the lounge area of the Vik San Anonio Hotel in Puerto Del Carmen. As Dee does whenever I start to talk passionately to anyone about poetry, Margaret suddenly remembered she had other things to do: It had been a pleasure to meet her though, and I hope she enjoys a relatively poetry-free period for some part of her holiday.

This all took place on Friday 21st April before Anto was meeting with Sarah-Jane in the evening to hand over the triptych.
photo 1 This was all part of his response to the open call by ‘Lacuna Festivals: Metamorphosis 2023’ to announce the event is now live and the deadline for applications closed on 31st March. You can find out how to apply by clicking here: Apply Now!

The festival, to be held here later this year, will include not only poetry but also a wide range of different dicsiplines. All Artforms are welcome and there are no fees to apply or participate!!

Lacuna Festivals are an independent, artist-led, international, contemporary art Festival which take place on the Canarian island of Lanzarote, just off the west coast of Africa. Lacuna Festivals have taken place throughout the month of July, annually since 2019. Previous editions have included; seminars, artist’s talks, round table discussions, artist-led workshops, gallery exhibitions, online exhibitions, virtual worlds, collaboration projects, participation projects and more!

Each year there is a different theme selected from proposals submitted and then voted for by participating artists. The themes for previous years have been: Surface and Support, Lost, Distance and Clash. The 2023 theme has been announced as ‘Metamorphosis’.

The festivals are run by and for practicing, contemporary artists. The implications of this are massive – there is no profit skimming, business minded, capitalist thinking going on here. Lacuna do not see art as an elitist commodity simply to be owned and prized for its value. Instead they see art as essential to our lives and believe that art is essential in everybody’s lives – perhaps more than some realise.

The Lacuna organisers are passionate about what they do and they treat the artwork of participants in exactly the same way as we artists treat our own – with the respect it implicitly deserves.

Through the Lacuna Festivals, the aspirations and intentions are to 
promote quality, contemporary (and sometimes challenging) art to communities isolated from mainland Europe which, therefore have limited access to international, contemporary arts.

Offer something local/translocal for both resident and visiting artists through stimulating local creatives and the local culture.

Enlarge creative networks and provide a point of contact for the exchange of knowledge, the sharing of ideas and the blossoming of creativity.

Develop new ways to exhibit, curate and organise large scale arts events through the use of crowdsourcing for ideas, funding, curation, promotion and all other aspects of such events.

Support artists at all stages of their careers and from all backgrounds. Equal opportunities for everyone regardless of status, income, gender, race, age, orientation, celebrity or fame.

Create a community of like-minded creatives who wish to exchange ideas, share knowledge, skills and understanding, communicate openly, validate, critique, collaborate and co-create.

The official language of the Lacuna Festivals is English. The festivals are international and as such the common working/professional language is English. To make things as easy as possible, we have embedded a Google Translate button at the bottom of each of our pages so tLacuna Festivals are proud to have been awarded the Europe for Festivals Festivals for Europe (EFFE) ‘Remarkable Arts Festival’ label in 2022.

The EFFE Label is Europe’s quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals showing their engagement in the field of the arts, community involvement and international openness. Now, around 1550 festivals across Europe have received the EFFE Label and can display this on their website, promotional materials and social media channels. Festivals displaying this label fulfill a minimum of 7 out of the 10 designated quality standards as judged by a panel of international festival experts.

It means a lot to Lacuna Festivals to have received this label as the designated quality standards as set out by EFFE line up really well with the aims of their own organisation. Check out the EFFE web site to find further information.

Lacuna Festivals are run by a tiny team of practicing, contemporary artists Sarah-Jane Mason and Simon Turner.
Sarah-Jane is a mixed media artist and creative facilitator and educator, Simon is an ephemeral land artist, up-cycler and jewellery maker.  Together, they believe that the implications of the festivals being run by artists, for artists are massive.
The most frequently asked question of Lacuna is is why do they run festivals?. They understand why they are asked that, especially as they are not paid for doing so. However. the motivation is simple and comes from their own experiences.

As artists themselves, both Sarah-Jane and Simon found that there are simply not enough spaces, opportunities, places, people or networks for creatives to do their thing. Artists need opportunities to get together; networking both professionally and socially with like-minded people; exhibiting their artworks; sharing their ideas, experiences, knowledge, skills and understanding helps validate the lifestyle of a creative person. This is particularly true when living in a remote location, especially if family and friends don´t undertstand your creative drive and, perhaps unwittingly, seem unsupportive. Many creative don’t have easy access to funding and/or are also working a full time job at the same time.

So Lacuna run the festivals for the artists, and laughingly, but sadly, admit that like the artists, they don’t have enough money, enough time, enough space or enough resources !

What Lacuna do have is the drive and determination to find creative spaces (temporary or permanent) and allow art to happen. We are sure that is hard work especially in the weeks approaching festivals we imagine that the organisers hardly sleep and mainly survive on coffee and hugs from friends (and during the pandemic they couldn’t even have hugs!).

But the thing is that doing this benefits everyone; you, us and everyone who sees the exhibitions or takes part in the events.
Lacuna are offering an opportunity fo0r those of us who consider ourselves to be artists to get our art out there and let it speak for itself to all who encounter it.

Let’s share our vision of the world, our troubles, our thoughts, our ideas and whatever else with which we may choose to communicate.

Let´s share, knowing that art (and sharing) has an intrinsic worth that cannot be defined solely by a cash sum and knowing that, as creative, we are living a valid way of life.

Lanzarote Information and Sidetracks And Detours will update you with news as the July Lucano Lazarote Festival approaches here on these pages at Lanzaote Information and on my own Sidetracks And Detours daily blog.

To save this article from being a merely advertorial work, though, I must take this opportunity to say what a pleasure it was the other day in the San Antionio Hotel, to listen to Anton read his poems, albeit to an invited audience of only one, and discuss not only some of the techniques he applies to them, even if he (nor) distrust that word. ´technique´.

The opening poem of the first, left hand side, triptych headedSpring is called Time, and the opening line is the colloquialism of ´Time starts now´ which lends an immediacy and urgenc y to the piece. Three short verses later the poem is concluded by the line, ´let us begin´.

I lover the second work, Bend The Light, partly because, as I´m sure many readers might agree, the light here on our island does indeed seem to bend. The shadows and sand slipping across Timanfaya, our volcano field, do in fact seem to bend the light, Readers might also agree with me, too, that this excellent poem is perhaps suspicious of this ´trick of the light and whilst associating it with Spring, the poem is also reminding us to beware those light shows that Russia seemed to be employing to justify its actions.

Other poems on this panel include The First Of March, an infamous day in the Russia Ukraine story, and The Dunnock Sings which carries echoes of Sebastian Faulks Bird Song, or lacking thereof.

The penultimate poem on this panel is Waterfall and it gurgles and gloops and talks and tumbles its way down to the three line final poem of Tick Tock, Tick Tock, which seem to return us to that opening line of the first poem.

The central triptych is under the collective heading of Poems In A Time Of War and includes Peace Tree and the heart-tugging Baby Antem, Russian 1983 and The Past. These four short poems open our minds to what has been going on, throughout the lifetime of my generation but that which has been also unfolding before our (tv) eyes over the past twelve to eigheen months.
Poems For Summer, the right hand and final triptych panel opens with The Woods that, despite being set in summer, and being descriptive of that season, feels to me to be strangely similar to Robert Frost´s Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Frost, my favouriote American poet, seemed to set his eye on something disturbing on what was an otherwise idyllic evening and here too Anto seems slight disturbed by whatevet there is out there that might ´bend the light´

The Trees Breathe and the slapping of the tide around the island and the good morning. good morning of the Dawn Chorus of the birds tell, in some ways of just one day in an Endless Summer.

Given that Anton has gathered these titles together during a period of Russian onslaught on Ukraine, and set them against tv news images that will haunt us forever, it is perhaps not surprising that beautiful though these works are in manyways, there are still sibilant whispers in them that something wicked this way comes.

However, I have another brief folio of four poems, The Leaf Gatherer, The Snow Drop, January and Starlings, all written by Anto Kerrins and I look forward to delivering a piece on these, too, over the coming weeks. Then, perhaps, we will see and hear Anto reading his own works at the festival on Lanzarote in July and we will, of course, share details of that and more on these pages.

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