Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith: Alluvium

Silent Morning by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

Poet Nandi Chinna and illustrator Andrea Smith  embarked upon a cross-continental collaboration for their book, Alluvium. Nandi has been exploring wetlands and walking in her latest poetry project. Andrea is a professional illustrator with an interest in birds and animals.

Alluvium (cover) by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

The book began with concerted wandering along the shores of wetlands and river banks in the city of Perth. The poems arose from the bodily practice of walking in spaces where wetlands once were, where wetlands still are, as well as along the banks of the Swan River. The collaboration was inspired by a mutual admiration of each others work and a desire to work together on a project. Andrea visited Perth in 2011 and was able to soak up some of the salty west coast air, windy storms, and swampy places. From her studio in Surrey Hills she has created luminous watercolour images in a lovely ink wash style, reflective of the watery themes:

With the distance of the Nullabour between us, the collaboration has been mainly virtual which has to some extent limited the conversation, but our artistic empathy has ensured an enjoyable collaborative experience.

The final result was an exquisite bespoke folio of loose-leaf printed illustrated poems.

Silent Morning by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

Yarning Circle by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

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Bio Statements:

Nandi Chinna lives near Fremantle in Western Australia. Her poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies, on radio and online. Her first collection of poetry, Our Only Guide is Our Homesickness, was published by Five Islands Press, 2007, followed by the chap book How to Measure Land, Picaro Press, 2010 which won the 2010 Picaro Press Byron Bay Writers Festival Poetry Prize. She is happy to have worked with Lethologica Press before on the collaborative project birdlife. She is currently a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, for which she is writing poetry about wetlands and walking.

Andrea Smith is a Sydney-based illustrator whose charm-filled, hands-on work recalls a lost innocence rarely seen in today’s fast-paced times. Hers is a world rich in storytelling; each illustration drawing the viewer in to take a closer look, resulting in an unexpected (yet always welcome) ‘smile in the mind.’ Having studied both fashion and design, Andrea’s handmade collages are often assembled from her large collection of vintage, painted and found papers, giving new life to forgotten tactile beauty. It’s this one-of-a-kind charm seen throughout Andrea’s illustrations – whether watercolour, animation, gocco print, line drawing or painted work – that capture the imagination and give it flight in ways that words often can’t.


Riparian Zone Urban by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

Swan River Canyon by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith

Pelicans, Lake Monger (Galup) 1920s by Nandi Chinna and Andrea Smith



  1. this is really different from the other things on the website. I love the collage owl- is that fabric? looks like it

    the movement and whimsey of the illustration contrasts with the deep stillness of the poem. Both pointing to the beyond of words and pictures and to the margins of the imagined world.

    I get a kick out of it – it is cleva

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