Events

Mental Health Week signifies a growing awareness and interest in fostering new narratives around mental health issues. First held in Australia in 1985, the annual event coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10th and includes “Mental As”, a collection of stories on mental health issues aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

These documentaries do a fine job of promoting new science and expressing unique perspectives on various conditions from Autism to Alzheimers. Though if I could add anything to their line-up it would be the cultural documentary CRAZYWISE co-directed by photographer-filmmaker Phil Borges. In this program we learn how indigenous cultures encourage exploration of altered states—what emerges is an understanding that ‘reality is relative’ to the individual and the culture.

People with unique sensitivities are offered guidance and respect to empower self discovery and confidence to embrace their differences. This is starkly different from the stigma associated with different states of mind amongst modern society. Shapeshifting and vision quests move beyond concepts of fiction or myth—this film shows how these practices represent an opportunity to master states of heightened awareness and to skilfully navigate new experiences with an open mind.

CRAZYWISE examines the effects of how modern vs traditional cultures approach mental health and what the outcome is for people who are labeled as mentally dysfunctional, disturbed or disabled. What are the consequences of diagnosing and prescribing drugs to treat an illness? Should we consider it a unique form of insight when someone hears voices in their head or experiences hallucinations? Is it better to administer pharmaceuticals to dampen these aberrations or enhance them? The film poses these questions, but also offers audiences a more expansive and inclusive view of mental health. It is a noteworthy omission from ABC’s “Mental As” showcase, one which reveals the mental health costs of limiting our state of mind.

Read our interview with Phil Borges in issue 47.

Phil Borges, a social documentary photographer and filmmaker, has been documenting indigenous cultures for over 25 years. His films and photographs are exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic. As an experienced lecturer, he has spoken at multiple TED talks. Phil directed 13 short documentaries focusing on gender based issues around the world for UN Women, CARE, ReSurge, joinFITE, Foundation for Women and One Heart. Two recent films include: One Heart in Nepal (2012, 6:39 min), and Ms. Trung (2012, 4:51 min).

CRAZYWISE is available to stream, download or purchase as a DVD. You can also attend or host a community screening, details @ crazywisefilm.com

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Why are Panthera paying such close attention to 197F, the sole wild tiger in a massive wildlife sanctuary in Southeast Asia? Because the science shows that all the elements needed for a tiger recovery in that part of the region are there: plenty of space, prey, and protection.

197F is the key to unlocking that potential.

With just 3,900 wild tigers left on Earth, every tiger counts.

If 197F finds the mate she’s so desperately seeking, their cubs will soon spread out and claim new territory and mates of their own. As Panthera have seen in many of their Tigers Forever sites, it is possible to rebuild healthy populations of tigers, even where there are very few to start.

This Global Tiger Day (July 29th), will you join Panthera with a gift to protect and recover critically endangered tigers?

The stakes are high. That’s why Panthera are speeding resources to the areas where 197F and her potential mates are roaming to:

• Increase monitoring of tigers, prey, and human activity in the area;
• Train rangers to use the latest technology to document forest crimes;
• Ramp up patrols at border areas to ID poacher access points and stage ambushes;
• Seize motorbikes used by illegal loggers who often poach wildlife, too;
• Reduce illegal activities in the park by providing viable alternatives to local people

By locking down these critical passageways, we hope to make it possible for three to five new populations of tigers to take hold in the region and plant the seeds of a full-scale recovery.

Checkout Panthera’s infographic telling 197F’s story of adventure and hope.

You can help Panthera rebuild tiger territory by donating this #globaltigerday

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Singapore’s award-winning wildlife attraction celebrates its 45th year since it first opened in 1973 with a new, illuminated multimedia night walk on the wild side that promises a sensory feast for visitors.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, unveiled Rainforest Lumina – the first such seasonal event to be staged in Southeast Asia – in a special preview event.

From 1 July 2018, a one-kilometer stretch within the zoo’s tropical rainforest will awaken the senses as visitors walk through 11 different zones and meet the Creature Crew, a group of unlikely heroes who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure along the paths of their enchanted world.

Created by award-winning multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory and set up with careful consideration to minimise disturbance to the park’s animal collection and native wildlife, Rainforest Lumina will take visitors on an immersive journey as they encounter interactive and mesmerising installations and uncover a side of the zoo that has never been seen before.

See the rainforest in a whole new light

With the overarching theme “We are one”, Rainforest Lumina seeks to drive home the message that humans, animals and nature are inter-connected, with each having a vital role to play to sustain life on earth. The transformation of the Singapore Zoo into a magical landscape of lights and sound, coupled with the interaction with the Creature Crew, will take guests on the spellbinding journey that will spark inspiration at every turn and nurture empathy for nature and wildlife.

Tomorrow’s Pioneers

Opening as one of the world’s first “open-concept” zoos, the Singapore Zoo started with a modest collection of about 300 animals. Today, the Singapore Zoo welcomes 1.9 million visitors each year and is home to over 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, of which 34 percent are threatened in the wild. The Zoo has also been successful in breeding critically endangered species and has established itself as one of the best zoos in the world, gaining worldwide recognition.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, said, “We have been redefining experiences and storytelling since the Singapore Zoo opened its doors to our first visitors in 1973. We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses and we wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience. Rainforest Lumina is an interactive and illuminated night walk that leads visitors on a multimedia-enhanced journey designed to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.”

“It has been a great collaboration between Moment Factory and Wildlife Reserves Singapore as we developed a new, unique multimedia experience for Singapore Zoo guests”, said Mr Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager, Lumina Series, Moment Factory. “Rainforest Lumina is the latest addition to our Lumina series and is inspired by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s mission and the zoo’s unique landscape. Rainforest Lumina uses interactive elements, projection mapping, lights and a soundscape to create an immersive attraction that will allow guests to rediscover the zoo at night and to reconnect with nature in a magical way.”

Ms Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Attractions, Entertainment and Tourism Concept Development for the Singapore Tourism Board said, “We are excited to support the Rainforest Lumina as part of the Singapore Zoo’s 45th anniversary. The Zoo, which has won several regional and international accolades, is an iconic attraction in the region for both visitors and Singaporeans. Its constant software enhancements play an important role in refreshing our diverse offerings and enhancing Singapore’s appeal as an attractive tourist destination with new and varied experiences to look forward to with each visit. We hope the Rainforest Lumina experience will attract even more visitors to the Zoo during this special season.”

Mr Barclay adds, “Beyond being a multimedia attraction, the deeper message of Rainforest Lumina is a call for everyone to come together to protect and preserve the wildlife we share our planet with.”

Singapore Zoo is set in a rainforest environment, its world-famous “Open Concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to more than 2,400 specimens over 300 species, 34 per cent of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. To better meet the healthcare needs of its animals and working towards its aspiration to become a leading global centre of excellence for veterinary healthcare and research, a purpose-built Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre was set up in March 2006.

Annually, approximately 1.9 million visitors enjoy experiential learning journeys at the 26-hectare award-winning Zoo—part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority. Rainforest Lumina is a seasonal attraction which runs nightly from 7.30pm – 10.30pm.

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York City and Paris. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Los Angeles Airport, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Toyota, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Madonna, Royal Caribbean and locally, Changi Airport.

If you need a good reason to venture outdoors this winter, consider ‘whale watching’ along the coastlines of South Australia.

Some of the best opportunities for whale watching in South Australia are at Head of Bight on the Nullarbor (far west coast of South Australia) and in Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula where Southern Right Whales gather to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in our winter time.


The South Australia Whale Centre have developed guidelines to ensure appropriate care is taken to protect these endangered giants as the popularity of this pastime continues to grow. Here’s their advise on Whale Watching the RIGHT way….

What makes whale watching in South Australia unique?


Southern Right Whales give birth in as little as 5 metres of water therefore come very close to shore and if undisturbed can stay in residence for 3-4 months nursing their calves until they are big and strong enough to make the long migration back to sub-Antarctic feeding grounds. This makes land-based sustainable whale watching available to everyone just 1-hour drive from Adelaide!

Migration and Conservation


Southern Right Whales feed in Antarctic waters in our summer before travelling an incredible 3-5,000kms to shallow, warmer waters off Australia, South Africa, South America and New Zealand southern coasts.

Whales visit Encounter Bay between May and November each year to give birth, nurse their young, mate and socialise. Females and their calves reside in nursery areas for up to 3-4 months.
Females are shown to have site fidelity and often return to calving and nursery grounds they have used in the past. When calves are born they average 4-5 metres in length and weigh about 1 tonne.
 Female adult Southern Right Whales can grow up to 80Tonnes and up 18metres long.

Southern Right Whales are classified as an “endangered” species under the Australian Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. Australia is the winter home to around 2,500 of the 15,000 or so Southern Right Whales remaining worldwide; still a small fraction of the estimated 60,000 – 100,000 that existed worldwide prior to whaling. Protection of the whales and their habitat in Encounter Bay is critical for conservation of this species.



Other Whale Species


Whale watcher also frequently see Humpback Whales at various locations across the Fleurieu Peninsula during the winter months from May to October. They are also migrating north from sub-Antarctic feeding grounds, but their destination is the warmer more tropical waters of NSW, QLD and WA further north.

Resident populations of both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins also reside at various locations along the coast including Victor Harbor and can be frequently spotted from Granite Island and The Bluff in Victor Harbor.



Sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines


The South Australian Whale Centre promote sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines to protect public safety and ensure that whales keep returning to our waters into the future. Whales are very sensitive to noise pollution and can leave an area if disturbed by loud and/or fast moving boats, other vessels and aircraft such as boats, jet skis, planes and drones.
There is a Jet Ski Restriction Zone in Operation around Victor Harbor from 1st May to 30th September.


The Encounter Bay Restricted Area adds further protection for Whales in Encounter Bay by restricting boats from approaching whales closer than 300m.

Planes and remotely piloted aircraft (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal at all times.


For the latest whale sighting information across South Australia visit the South Australian Whale Centre Sighting Log or call the Centre on (08) 8551 0750.

From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.

The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.

The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.

“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”

Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”

Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.

The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.

“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”

The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.

“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”

The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.

“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”

The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”

“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.

Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.

Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…

Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge