On International Women’s Day 2020, I feel honoured and excited to share this poetry and collage collaboration with you. My close friend Melissa Corbett — an Australian visual artist based in Spain — has created this magnificent collage based on my poem Mother Gaia is on Fire, written in response to the Australian bushfires earlier this year. Both works deal with themes of environmental destruction, misogyny and capitalism and the subjugation of both women and nature by these destructive forces. Both pieces are highly symbolic. Melissa says:
For the past year out of control fires have ravaged large parts of the USA, Siberia, Africa, Brazil and Australia. Forests that had never burnt before are now burning rapidly, destroying those remnant habitats that haven’t already been logged, mined or farmed. As the Australian bushfires were at their height, my dear friend Melita White wrote the poem “Mother Gaia is on Fire”. The Earth is indeed on fire, and the worst effects of global heating are now being seen years earlier than what scientists had anticipated.
Around the same time as this poem was written in January 2020, Melita and I discussed doing a collaboration on our respective blogs. For our first collaboration, Melita asked me to illustrate the poem “Mother Gaia is on Fire”. The plan for our following collaboration is for Melita to write a poem based on one of my artworks, however, I so enjoyed illustrating Melita’s poem that I plan to illustrate another one soon!
You can read (and see!) more about Melissa’s collage, her process and the symbolism in her work, as well as my poem, over at her website. And while there, be sure to have a look around and check out some of Melissa’s other amazing artwork, which often centres on environmental and political themes. Melissa’s art is colourful, bold and personal (and often includes a touch of humour), while at the same time investigating important contemporary issues. I look forward very much to future collaborations with Melissa.