I am a Canberra-based poet and visual artist, with an background in music. I’ve published a collection of poetry, The Myrrh-Bearers (Sydney: Puncher & Wattmann, 2015), and a book of images and poems made while living with the Warlpiri, The Lumen Seed (New York: Daylight Books, 2017). I’m a proud member of Oculi collective, one of the chapter leads of Women Photograph (Sydney), and the 2021 Artist in residence with Music Viva. Currently, I’m also Poetry Editor for The Canberra Times.
Since 2011, I have spent part of each year living and working with tribal people in the Tanami desert. My work includes themes of displacement and identity loss, a reflection on my own lost Aboriginal ancestry, but primarily it is centred on the concept of connection with Country. I trace my ancestry to the Bpangerang people of North-Eastern Victoria and the NSW Riverina. I also trace ancestry to Ghana, Senegal, France, Ireland and Scotland, but I foreground my Aboriginal ancestry. You can read my statement concerning Aboriginal heritage here, if you’re interested in how I position myself in terms of cultural identity.
I have directed and worked on two major social justice research projects–The Julfa Project, which preserved photographic records of a destroyed Armenian cemetery and digitally reconstructed the site from new and existing images; and Kurdiji 1.0, an Aboriginal suicide prevention app, which strengthens resilience in young indigenous people by reconnecting them with community and culture.
Scroll down for information on my books, exhibitions and press reviews.
Here are some recent articles on my work:
The artist who turns roadkill into fine art (Australian Financial Review)
New Talent offers a fresh perspective from the roadside (Sydney Morning Herald)
Judith Nangala Crispin wins Blake Poetry Prize (Liverpool City Champion)
Rule Breakers: Judith Nangala Crispin (Don’t Take Pictures)
Speaking with Country: Judith Crispin in conversation with James Burnett (Monk: art & the soul)
The Dingo’s Noctuary (Plumwood Mountain Journal)
Oculi welcomes 9 new members and celebrates 20 years (Capture Magazine)
Gemes, Crispin & Pollak Exhibition Review (Rochfort Street Review)
The Lumen Seed (NY: Daylight, 2017) contains photographs, drawings and poems about the indigenous Warlpiri people of Australia’s Northern Tanami Desert.
The Lumen Seed depicts a cultural dialogue taking place before a backdrop of offences against the Australian continent, as well as a history of systematic discrimination against indigenous peoples on the part of the country’s white population. The images, created in close consultation with Warlpiri people, document an attempt by elders to share sacred information with white people; the poems convey my interpretation of those ideas, alongside my slow development of personal relationships with community elders.
The Myrrh-Bearers (Sydney: Puncher & Wattmann, 2015) is a book of love poems, describing real events and real people as the poet has experienced them. The worlds evoked in these poems are suffused with faerie tales, myth and philosophy. The genesis of this collection lies in a diverse engagement with different poetries: the influence of the Polish poets Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz, along with that of the French poets Henri Michaux, René Char, René Daumal and Alfred Jarry; there is also the sure presence of Gwen Harwood and Judith Wright as well as, more esoterically, William Blake and G. I. Gurdjieff. The pataphysical influence of Jarry, in particular, leads to a poetry which attempts to describe a universe supplementary to the one which we inhabit. The presence of music as a subject stems from a close engagement with musical mentors, Larry Sitsky in Australia, Emmanuel Nunes in France and Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany.
PUBLICATIONS & EXHIBITIONS
The Boabs & Elegy for a Thylacine in the National Museum, Rochfort Street Review (Nov 13, 2020)
On Finding Charlotte in the Anthopological Record, Australian Poetry Anthology, Vol 8. Ed. Sara Saleh & Melinda Smith (Australian Poetry, 2020)
On Finding Charlotte in the Anthopological Record, In Scars, an Anthology of Microlit. Ed. Cassandra Atherton (Spineless Wonders, March 2020).
On Finding Charlotte in the Anthopological Record, In The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry. Ed. Paul Hetherington (Melbourne University Publishing, October 2020)
Three poems from the Dingo’s Noctuary, Verity La (February 22, 2019)
First Descent of the Snake, or how Billy Graham was the Devil in the 1970s, Hecate, Vol 44 Issue 1 of 2 (Nov 2019)
Five Threnodies for Marlinga III, In The Best Australian Poems 2017, ed. Sarah Holland-Blatt, (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2017)
Five Poems on Jerry Jangala who, like the sparrowhawk, conceals within himself another self, The Canberra Times (May 2017)
Five poems in Spanish and English, Catalogue of the 26th Medellin International Poetry Festival (May 2016)
Two poems on Henry Jackamarra Cook, December Journal, (7/2016)
Five Threnodies on Maralinga, Axon Issue CI: Poetry on the Move (2015)
Light Picture, The House is not Quiet and the World is not Calm, an Anthology of Canberra poetry, ed. Geoff Page & Kit Kelen, (2015)
Three Poems, Open Windows: an English-Chinese anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry, (IPSI 2015)
Märchen, three poems with nine images, Axon: Creative Explorations, issue 2 (3/ 2012)
“Lajamanu Country: a visual essay.” Arena Magazine issue #148 Visual Essay (2017) 26-37
Online exhibition, Social Documentary, The Lumen Seed, 2017
Verity La Journal, cover image (Neil Jupurrula at Watfish Waterhole) for the Australia Day edition, 2016.
Burnt Umber, Paul Hetherington. UWA Press, 2016. Cover Artwork.
Rabbit 14, Deviations, March 2015. 12 images.
Different Windows, Paul Hetherington. UWA Press, 2013. Cover Artwork.
100 Canberra Houses, Tim Reeves and Dr Alan Roberts. Halstead Press, 2013. Three photographs.
BETA, developments in photography ezine, August 2012. 10 page spread.
Bluecanvas issue 14, December 2012. Six works.
Axon Journal, issue 2 (March 2012). Eight works from Märchen.
Photo Review Australia Magazine, 2011, “Self-diptych” also a Billboard image at the entry to the city of Ballarat for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB’11).
Poetic Terrorism: by a selection of female self-portrait artists, (ed.) Helene Deroubaix, 2009. Six works.
Olivier Messiaen: the Centenary Papers, Ed. J. Crispin. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2010. Cover Artwork.
aMUSH Gallery & Head On Photography Festival, Where I stand, curated group exhibition in large outdoor lightboxes (2020)
Auckland Photo Festival 2020. Core program solo exhibition, 30 works in very large light boxes throughout Auckland.
Pingyao International Photography Festival 2019, Core program solo exhibition (Lumachromes)
Maunsell Wickes Gallery, The Dingo’s Noctuary, solo exhibition 2019
Heifei International Photography Biennale 2019, Antipodean Mnemonic, curated group exhibition
Galerie VU/France, Perpignan, Nature Through Her Eyes, curated solo exhibition 2019
Newmont Gold Mine, Tanami Desert, Henry’s Country, solo exhibition 2019
Tweed Gallery, shortlist for the 2019 Olive Cotton Prize, group exhibition
Head On Festival 2019, Loud and Luminous, curated group exhibition
Melbourne Photography Festival, The Lumen Seed, September 2017
Auckland Photo Festival, Projected images and Photobook talk, The Lumen Seed 2017
Atkins Technicolor, 7 images and launch of The Lumen Seed, 2017
Online exhibition, Social Documentary, The Lumen Seed, 2017
The Julfa Project, collaboration with Drew Baker. LA, 2106 (large projections, 3D visualisations, ten images)
The Julfa Project, collaboration with Drew Baker. The Soap Factory, Rome Italy, September 23-26, 2016 (large projections, 3D visualisations, 10 images)
Weltraum, Curated show. Adelaide Shimmer festival (5 works)
Magnet Galleries, February 2016, Women at Work. (5 works)
Julfa Cemetery, DH2015 conference, University of Western Sydney, June 2015 (Oculus rift visualisation, 10 images)
Photonet retrospective, June 2015 (two works)
Pingyao International Photography Festival, September 2014, curated by Jeff Moorfoot core exhibition Wizards of Oz (5 very large works)
BIFB Collection 2015, July 2015.
BIFB Collection 2014, August 2014.
Magnet Gallery Melbourne, March 2014. Curated show The Well-Spring (6 works).
Nearly Birds, collaborative show with Paul Hetherington (poet) and Victoria Royds (sculptor), Belconnen Arts Centre, January 2013 (12 large works, sculpture and poems)
Nearly Birds, Photonet Gallery, Melbourne, May 2013
Nearly Birds, St. Arnaud Town Hall artspace, November 2013
Märchen, Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Photography 11A, January-February 2012 (13 works).
Magnet Gallery Melbourne, June 2013. Curated show Earth (4 works)
Photonet Gallery Melbourne, March 2013. Curated show Windows (9 works).
Ballarat International Foto Biennale Reprieve, Federation Square, Melbourne, June 2012. Curated show (5 works)
Manning Clark House Canberra, May-June 2012. Curated show Washi (4 works).
Photonet Gallery Melbourne, April-May 2012. Curated Show Fire (5 works).
Photonet Gallery Melbourne, March-April 2012. Curated show Washi (4 works).
Photonet Gallery Melbourne, February-March 2012. Curated show Branches of Olive (8 works).
The Cartographer’s Illusion, Core Program Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB’11), August 20-Sept 19, 2011 (26 works).
Simulacra, 48 Stunden Neukölln, Berlin, June 2011 (21 works).
Beelzebub’s Tales, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Febr. 2011 (21 works).
Brunswick Street Gallery Melbourne, August 2011. Group show (single work).
New North Gallery, June-July 2011. Curated show (single work).
Brunswick Street Gallery Melbourne, April 2011. Group show (single work).
“Laika, shaman-dog of the Soviet space race, and collective guilt: a short essay on Olli Heikkonen’s ‘When Laika, abandoned in space, barks’” in Take Five, ed. Kathy Kituai (2017)
24 April 1915: Australia’s Armenian story over a century” by Vicken Babkenian and Judith Crispin in Honest History: Beyond Anzackery (New South, 2016)
‘Sitsky in his 80th year’. Resonate Magazine, Australian Music Centre, September 2014.
‘The Poet and the Guru: Understanding René Daumal in the light of Gurdjieffian Philosophy’. Axon: Creative Explorations, issue 6 (September 2014).
Crispin, Marshall, Riddell & McAlary, Recovering a Lost Armenian Cemetery: A Pilot Project. Text, cover image and 55 images of 130.
‘A Reflection on Photography’, One Thousand Words about Photography, Issue one May 2013.
“The transcendence of musical time: Text and temporality in Busoni’s Doktor Faust and Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise” in Time and Space in Words and Music, New York: Peter Lang, 2011.
“Introducing Larry Sitsky’s New Ending for Ferruccio Busoni’s Doktor Faust”. Ereignis und Exegese–Musikinterpretation und Interpretation der Musik. Festschrift für Hermann Danuser, ed. Camilla Bork, Tobias Klein, Burkhard Meischein, Andreas Meyer and Tobias Plebuch, Schliengen (Germany): Edition Argus 2011.
“Messiaen’s Transcendent Angels and the Ten Duino Elegies of Rilke”, in Olivier Messiaen: the Centenary Papers, Ed. J. Crispin. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
Olivier Messiaen: the Centenary Papers, ed. J. Crispin. (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2010)
“The Esoteric Legacy of Ferruccio Busoni”, in Music and Esotericism, ed. Laurence Wuidar, Amsterdam: Brill. 2009.
“The Nuctemeron of Sitsky” Current Issues in Music, (Vol II 2008) pp. 7 – 39. Canberra: Southern Voices, ISSN:1447–7939.
The Esoteric Musical Tradition of Ferruccio Busoni and its Reinvigoration in the Music of Larry Sitsky: The Operas Doktor Faust and The Golem. (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007)
“On Freezing, Notes on a series by Boryana Katsarov”, BIFB’15 Catalogue, 2015.
“Preface” Dheerasekara, J. (catalogue) Manuwangku: under the nuclear cloud. Blurb, 2013.
“Preface” Hetherington, P & Anita Fitton. Spectral Resemblances. Blurb, 2013.
“Introduction” FIRST: Spun, an Anthology of Poems. University of Canberra Press, 2012.
“Preface” Sitsky, L. Doktor Faust, an ending.
“Preface” Catalogue of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, 2011.
IN THE PRESS
Philip Salom Launches Judith Crispin _ Cordite Poetry Review
The Lumen Seed (Judith Crispin) _ Verity La
Judith Crispin, ‘The Myrrh-Bearers_ in The Australian
Judith Crispin, ‘The Myrhh-Bearers’ in Cordite
The Lumen Seed_ Records of a search in the Australian desert by Judith Crispin – The Eye of Photography
Judith Crispin, The Lumen Seed – The Eye of Photography
Book Review_ The Lumen Seed by Judith Crispin _ F-Stop Magazine
National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network
Rolling Stone (Germany)
Nick Cave’s website
The Guardian Australia
Ghost Cult Magazine
The Industry Observer
National Indigenous Times
Social Documentary Network
The Australian Independent Media Network
Look to the Stars
Pro Bono Australia
Health Info Net
CAAMA (go to 31 March, 2017)
Antro Blogi (Finland)
Tone Deaf Magazine
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club webpage
Slideshare (Four Apps That Want To Change The World)
Ardina News (Portugal)
Novayagazeta Blog (Russia)
Click Life (Greece)
The Julfa Project
Op Ed. Australians helped the Yazidis in the 1920 and can do so again, The Guardian
SBS interview on The Julfa Project
Australia_s Armenian story _ Inside Story
Microsoft Word – 337. Short-Digital Humanities, Cultural Heritage and Social Justice-337
Armenian newspaper report on The Julfa Project