Meander Valley Gazette

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Spreading kindly words

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann
Rose Turtle Ertler in the doorway of The Complimentary Caravan   Photo | Emma Hodgkinson

Rose Turtle Ertler in the doorway of The Complimentary Caravan

Photo | Emma Hodgkinson

April 2019 | Emma Hodgkinson

ROSE TURTLE Ertler first started thinking about the power of compliments when she was praised for a performance done 20 years ago. Since then she has been thinking of ways to spread positivity. So, years later, she started a project that aimed to give people the open opportunity to spread kind words.

Starting at the Village Winter Festival in Central Victoria in 2016, as an experiment, Rose began collecting auditory compliments in a caravan. Since then, The Complimentary Caravan has collected over 13,000 written, and 400 audio compliments.

“The goal is to spread positivity and to remind people of the impact that words have on others.” Originally from Devonport, Rose has recently moved back to Tasmania where the Caravan has already made a positive impact. On the 1st & 2nd of March, Rose celebrated World Compliment Day outside Chudleigh Hall and at the Deloraine Market with her caravan full of compliments.

People are invited to sit inside the caravan and absorb the kind words inside, then she encourages them to write a compliment of their own. “When you sit in the caravan and can hear and read the compliments, you know that they’re not for you but still absorb the positivity from it.” “I’ve done variations of this project without the caravan, such as Complimentary Lane; which was a soundtrack that played in an arcade as a part of a project that was looking for sound installations.” Rose chose a caravan for the body of her project because of its ability to become a peaceful and welcoming space.

The Caravan is decorated inside and outside with yellow cards where people have written compliments. Inside, there is cushioned seating, where people can sit comfortably whilst absorbing the positive space around them. Rose hopes that everyone who has visited The Complimentary Caravan has been more able to share compliments in their day-to-day lives, to further spread positivity. She hopes that World Compliment Day will be celebrated more in the future.