Doug Spowart: ‘Have you got your Chronicle today?’

Normana Wight our regular ALA guest blogger spied me opening up a package containing an artist’s book by Siganto Foundation Fellow Doug Spowart. She immediately decided that a blog must be written to promote this witty, but unassuming work.

‘Have you got your Chronicle today?’

‘Have you got your Chronicle today?’

A book  made of a single sheet (one join) folded to make 30 unnumbered pages; sized from 10.5cm to 37cm X 18 cm, stored in a pale grey paper folding case 38cm high.
It was shown as part of an exhibition referencing regional news. (Regional news takes a bit of a beating in Australia; maybe because most of the population lives on or near, the coast.)

This spontaneous and immediate fold-out book is built out of just one day’s copy of The Toowoomba Chronicle, (August 19, 2012) the Queensland Darling Downs daily newspaper, published in Toowoomba and circulated throughout this rich agricultural area.

chronicle1From grapes, to cattle, to grain; and there’s a tradition of education – boarding schools where students could be educated in the cooler climate of the Great Dividing Range. As the area grew more populous, tertiary education became possible for people who live all over the place; overseas and beyond the Range, far to the west, in this vast countryside. Toowoomba is a centre for this thinly spread population.


The book forms a table sculpture when opened out.

It is full of word-play and jokes; e.g. In one view the separate letters read ‘MONEY’. Quotes such as ‘talented songstress’ and ‘Beef Week’ abound.


Enjoy, but don’t put down your country cousins.

Some celebrated artists have chosen to live in the provinces. For example, Cezanne lived in Provence (South of France) where the landscape and light  were all important to him. Likewise, in Australia, Kenneth McQueen, the celebrated  watercolourist  lived near Milmerran in Queensland.
Today, particularly with so much communication, wherever you live, there’s no need to feel isolated.
Well, not completely!