Madrid, March 2021
The Calm Sea by Mia Gill
When the sea reaches the shore
Happiness rises and makes clouds
Children receive love from heaven
And the earth, a ball
That flies like a seagull
‘I am Mia, I’m seven, I like the colours pink and teal. I love the snow because it is fun, I love to play with mum and enjoy my dad’s cooking. I like cooking, playing, dancing, putting on makeup, making clothes and eating rice with coconut, fish with their heads on, and drinking passionfruit juice. I am happy doing lots of things because every day is a new experience. Songs are my favourite thing. I write about nature because I love its beauty. I also write about small moments and true stories. Bye!’
Introducing Mia and her poetry collection, Cielo de océano – Ocean Sky
Sometimes we receive a call every day from our niece Mia, in the United States, to carry on a game or a story from the previous day. During this past year, my partner Lilián has suggested all sorts of activities for her, such as: create your own planet from things around the house and tell the story of what each part means to you, or, design a fashion collection for your dolls – in which Mia used paper cupcake cases, felt tip colours, tissue paper and jewellery, and created crazy makeup and hairstyles.
There is always a poetic or narrative element in the games, whether naming costumes or discussing what is important for the world. When Mia became distracted by the face filters on the mobile, Lilián used it as an opportunity to make up a story with different characters, asking Mia, ‘…and what happened next?’ Sometimes the story would become so gripping the filters were forgotten.
This past year Lilián and I have had an artists´residency in Matadero Madrid, here in Spain, on the theme of childhood, play and public spaces. During lockdown the residency was closed, as were museums and parks, and even public playgrounds were cordoned off with red and white striped tape, so the internet became the public space. One of our projects was to share five words related with childhood and invite people to write a poem including the five words (which were: child, sea, ball, seagull, and happiness). As soon as we told Mia the five words, and even before Lilián had explained the rules, she was making up her poem.
I’ve only met our niece once in person, when she turned three, and with the impossibility of travel this year we thought it would be fun to publish a collection of her poems to send her. We asked her parents to send photos of poems and pictures that she had written and painted at school. She wrote them in English but also speaks Spanish so we translated them into Spanish as well. Friends collaborated by buying digital copies so we could cover a limited edition print, and postage to the States. Her collection is titled ‘Cielo de océano – Ocean Sky’ and is the first in our Children’s Collection Juegos al sol (Play in the sun) published by antenablue.
Lilián Pallares and Charles Olsen form the creative duo, antenablue, making audiovisual works in the field of literature. Their poetry films have been shown in international poetry film festivals and featured in Moving Poems, Poetry Film Live, and Atticus Review. During 2020/21 they have a residency in the Centre for Artist Residencies, Matadero Madrid, and have been selected to lead workshops in schools in the council programme, Madrid, un libro abierto (Madrid, an open book). For more information see antenablue.com.