Embers in a fire pit circled

to move through the dark night of the soul

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Ensayistas Camila Marambio and Caitlin Franzmann were invited to make an offering as a part of Art and Australia’s 2021 publication:  Issue Eight (57.1): Multinaturalism.

Our contribution (p.84-93) is a random and dynamic series of imaginings and intuitions that tell of Ensayos’ encounters with the Chilean firebush in 2018 and it’s Australian relative, the tree waratah in 2019. Through text and image, we tell of fortunes, transmutation and a cautioning of death, as a way to move through the dark night of the soul with you.

In the Editorial essay, Wrapped in flowers, listening to frogs (p.11-17), Tessa Laird describes how this issue of Art and Australia was born out of a time of loss, anger and despair, as well as love and survival. The publication seeks to decenter the human and encompass nature into the narrative through the lens of ‘multinaturalism’ – a term coined by the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and, as Laird acknowledges, the concept ‘grows out of Amerindian thought, in particular the writings of Yanomami shaman Davi Kopenawa’. Laird elaborates, ‘Like many Indigenous epistemologies, including those of this continent [Australia], Amerindian thought posits a time when all life was human. Various events led to the differentiations we see today: mountains, rivers, plants, animals but, underneath these external differences, beings maintain kinship.’

Acknowledging Ensayos’ South American–Australian connections in our combined issue of Más allá del fin and Discipline in 2019, Laird writes ‘Multinaturalism continues to cross-pollinate the two continents’ with contributions also from fellow Ensayista, Cecilia Vicuña, and contributors from Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. This issue recognizes the need for ‘solidarities across and through difference’ and Ensayos is honoured to be participating in the discourse with our Gondwana sister plants.

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