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 Semaphore is a newsletter and publishing project about art fromWestern Australia | Semaphore is a collaborative project and practice | Semphore enters into a dialogue with art from its rooted location of Boorloo on Noongar Country |


On Affection:
A letter to my high school crush 

5 April 2020
A love letter with text and illustrations by Amber Norrish

click right on the image above
for next page in sequence

[transcript of pages]

[page 1]

[full page of sketch book covered with rough grey lead pencil lines in verticle pattern; name redacted with hot pink squiggle]

Call me 042780💘💖💖

    [page 2]

You turned 18.
💖 and 💖’s engagement.
I lost my car keys at the racecourse on our walk oops.

[two figures sitting at a table, looking at each other]

[page 3]

[drawing of Ascot Racecourse with stars in the sky]

[page 4]

[drawing of old Nokia brick phone]

I got your number and we hit it off with some major flirting on my behalf. 

[page 5]

We talked non-stop for two years… many mornings and late nights. I remember warning you I was trouble. You in your caravan and me in my boarding school room, both going to great measures to secure a signal!

[drawing of bedroom with window, desk, red and telstra signal bars, low] 

[page 6]

You were definitely trouble for me too, private catholic girl school didn’t prepare me for the messages from a young outrageously good-looking and smart guy like yourself.  Again, you made me so nervous and aIways had butterflies when your name appeared in my screen.

[drawing of caravan with stars] 

[page 7]

I wish I could say I was the mastermind behind the perfectly crafted replies but I can’t take any of the credit! Beauty of living with 50 other girls was getting them to reply to naughty messages when it left me speechless ha!

[drawing of breasts in lace bra]

Black lace bra



[page 8]

My Yr 12 ball partner was a douche and made me cry. As we got home from the after party at my house, I spent the whole night talking to you under the close-line. Ill always treasure this particular memory.

[drawing of figure underneath cloths-line with wound-up hose and floating pages]

[page 9]

💖 and 💖’s wedding came around Jan 09 and I never told you but I spent the night in the loo because I was so nervous to see you.

[drawing of portable toilet with female sign]

[page 10]

The problems started with less and less contact and failed catch-ups. For me this time, although I found it tough, and guilty because I let go or lost site of what we had. I was consumed by overwhelm of what I was going to do to make my mark on the world. That is another story that I hope to get the chance to share with you one day. Looking back this was one of the reasons we drifted apart. A lot of it I felt was my fault. 

[page 11]

However, finishing my arts degree, knowing that art makes me so happy and gives me the opportunity to speak my mind shows me that I haven’t wasted my time apart from you. But not once, through everything have I forgotten our time together, in fact over the last few years I’ve struggled to find the courage to contact you to see if that connection still exists, until now.

[page 12]

I can’t really explain how I feel and what inspired me to do this, I’m just following my gut that’s saying the connection is strong.

[drawing telstra signal bars, full; 💌💖💖]

 Amber Norrish
A letter to my high school crush
14 October 2016

Kaya. We acknowledge the Whadjuk People of Boorloo boodja who are the traditional owners of the land where Semaphore is made. We respect their culture, their custodianship, and their continuing contribution to the life of this city and this region. That includes recognising and respecting sovereignty while working in solidarity towards a treaty and supporting ongoing connection to country. That means linguistic rights, economic opportunity, and artistic endeavour. To their Elders, past, present and emerging, we say thanks.