Kiri Piahana-Wong reviews On We Go


Kiri Piahana-Wong reviews On We Go for Kete. 

‘Poetry as a genre sings out for accompanying artwork and the superlative treatment a hardcover book affords, however budget constraints mean that this level of production is rarely to be found outside of limited-edition semi-hand-crafted books. What a joy, then, to discover On We Go which is an exquisitely produced hardback collection with 26 watercolour paintings and 21 poems printed on thick, creamy paper, small enough to comfortably hold in one hand.

The book is a result of a collaboration between artist Catherine Bagnall and poet Jane Sayle. Catherine Bagnall is an internationally recognised artist whose practice involves performance and its intersection with dress. Jane Sayle has a background in art writing and reviewing; this is her first book of poetry. She lived in Europe and California before returning to New Zealand in 2019. On We Go was developed through email conversations when the two were living on different sides of the world.

The artwork is by turns whimsical, playful, but also unsettling in the manner of fairytales, where much is hidden and nothing is quite as it seems. Each painting has the dreamlike quality of a masquerade. By way of example, at first glance the cover artwork, Lightness, depicts two dresses with accompanying petticoats (but apparently no one wearing them) and an upside-down tree.’

Read the full review here.