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The great drain of the house
is a centre without clothes
where the eye deeps the mirror, a fished-out lake.

~ Elizabeth Campbell from 'Tooth'


In 2014, The Red Room Company and ARTAND Australia invited poets and artists to swap poems and pictures with one another to create new works.The brief for the artists and poets was to come together in whatever way they wanted and create new work. The only definite element to the mission was the end – publication in ARTAND Australia and an event at the Sydney Writers' Festival. 

We selected poets whose personal experience and body of work is already in dialogue with the visual arts. Ken Bolton makes collages, his own books, drawings, is an art critic and runs the Experimental Art Foundation bookshop in Adelaide. Elizabeth Campbell's poems are laced with references to the visual arts and whose subjects include artworks and personae from paintings. We selected artists whose work has a relationship with text, whether incorporated into the surface of the work, or in the mind of the artist or her subject.

Culminating on May 22, 2014, before a packed house at the Sydney Writers' Festival, the lunch hour event featured poetry readings and an exhibition of the artworks and explored the outcomes of pairing Ken Bolton with Jenny Watson and Elizabeth Campbell with Prudence Flint. Renowned poet Robert Adamson read his poetry and joined the discussion of poetry's relationship with the visual arts. The event was chaired by The Red Room Company Founder and Artistic Director, Johanna Featherstone.

Explore our ARTAND Poetry booklet here.

This project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.