Jessie Traill – Stars in the river @ National Gallery of Australia

Traill Richmond

The latest exhibition at the National Gallery is Jessie Trail – Stars in the River Etching is an attractive form of artwork. Jessie Traill is a skilled expert in the field . I love her take on building and construction. Etching naturally contrast light and dark. A lovely series included in the exhibition covers the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Steel and cranes against lighted backgrounds are starkly portrayed in many of her works. In every construction etching in this exhibition she inserts tiny humans doing ordinary things in the midst of grand scale building projects.
Her other strength is in peaceful landscapes. There is a delightful little creation called Beehives in the snow. A set of small roofs set in a field softened by the rounded edges heavy snow on the ground and roofs establishes a soft almost hugable look.
The exhibition includes lots of experimentation in etchings. From her European travels there are some delightful treatments of people engaged in day to day life. Traill seems always engaged with the human dimension and one of the most striking examples of her mix between human and natural elements is in the one of a wood cutters home shrouded in shadow and given its tiny scale by the surrounding forest. I knew little of Traill before I went into the exhibition and left excited to learn more.

The National Gallery of Australia site is

The Road to the Coast @ Belconnen Arts Centre

Eight local artists have contributed to a great exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre. The artists have used paint, ceramic, chicken wire, paper and other materials to produce an attractive set of artistic expressions on the road from Canberra to the coast. There are landscapes of various styles, there are lots of types of sculptures and even a great set of about 20 small paintings of two boys in the back seat of the car at various stages of the trip.
Two parts of this exhibition truly excited me. Anna Buck has a set of four large paintings which focus on wooden bridges over rock strewn rivers. The striking visual images evoke that great sense of recognition in me as a regular coast road user. Georgia Partridge has formed a family of kangaroos in lightly rusted chicken wire. The colour and the form are clever but their semi transparent look is so real for me who sees similar families of kangaroos often almost invisible in the landscape on my daily ride to work.

The Belconnen Arts Centre is at:

Neil Oliver @ NLA

neill oliver
Neil Oliver TV presenter, writer, archaeologist, and historian spoke at the National Library on Tuesday night.
He is in Australia to film more of the new TV series for Foxtel called Coasts Australia and he has been the featured speaker at the History Teachers Conference this week.
For someone who began with a disclaimer that he was nervous about crowds because his work was either solitary or in very small groups he had the crowd listening with rapt attention.
People were there because they like his TV series or books and he pitched his talk to them weaving delightful anecdotes of people encountered in developing the TV series or interesting facts turned up in research. I was not a great fan and I attend lots of public addresses and have to say that Neil Oliver is someone I would hear again. He wove together a funny, stimulating collection of material that had me talking to people about elements of it for the last few day.
After the event they had a book signing and the book shop seemed to be doing a roaring trade. The line to talk with Mr Oliver stretched all the way around the National Library foyer. Incidentally his comment that the Coasts Australia was being made for Foxtel was greeted with a loud spontaneous groan.
Oliver’s website is: and his is on Facebook and Twitter

Royal Australian Mint exhibition and observation space

We all use coins every day. Meters, coffee and other uses that do not go on cards, call for coins. Australian coins are manufactured in Canberra at the Mint.
The public gallery at the Mint is a treat. One side is a set of floor to ceiling glass panes overlooking parts of the manufacturing process including a robot that bows to people up in the gallery.
The educational aspects of the space areas are well laid out with samples of coins from the time when Europeans arrived up to the present. There are trial run coins and misprint coins. There are lots of explanations of the processes of design and production for coins.
The experience is expanded by a short film in a small theatre and at present there is a delightful picture book exhibition set in 1913 using cartoons and enlarged page reproductions. The exhibition is titled Shilling’s Year – a coins eye view of the year 1913. There is a unique shop selling the remarkable range of coin collection products available from The Mint. Coffee is available near the entrance.
Further information about the Mint is on their website:

TEDx Canberra salon @ NLA

This was my first participation in a TED event. I enjoyed it alot. A fast moving program of speakers and videos split with a long break for people to chat together maintained interest.
The presenters were Jahla Gato, Tony Wong, Marcus Dawe, Will Grant and Mark Pesce. They brought together material that was germane to the theme of Ready for Tomorrow.
My favourites were Tony Wong who did a great presentation on the use of urban water (a theme close to my heart) and on video a guy called Ron Finley who developed an urban gardening movement in South Central Los Angeles.
I will go to another event as there is a buzz at an event that is not as present on line. I have loved using TED talks on line but was surprised to find that the movement began in 1990
The big website for this movement is at

Canberra Planning – The City to the Lake

The ACT government has developed a future vision for downtown Canberra. The core ideas are designed to tie separated elements of the centre of the city together. Parkes Way and Vernon Circle are the primary focusses to fix the city’s need for integration. Parkes Way creates a wide, fast moving ribbon of traffic that separates the lake and Commonwealth Park from the city. Northbourne Avenue and Vernon Circle divide the eastern retail dominated and western office dominated sections of the city.
The City to the Lake vision proposes dropping Parkes Way into a narrower trench allowing local streets to connect a new residential and business precinct running from New Acton to the lake shore. Plans are there to divert traffic from the flow through on Northbourne to some of the circular roads and to turn Vernon Circle to a slow moving local street with many businesses facing the pre-existing park in the centre.
The vision also centres on some big moves to create a much larger convention centre on City Hill and a new sport stadium on the current site of the Olympic Pool.
A short Youtube clip is available that spells out the vision:

A well explained government website is at:

and there is an exhibition in the vacant office space on the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Coyong Street opposite James Court.

Allan.Savary @ TED Salon Canberra April 17

One of the speakers at TED Canberra today was brought in on video and his talk is on the TED website was Allan Savary. His presentation described the transformative result of using large herds of livestock to replicate historical environmental relationships in degraded or desertified areas. He has shown the effectiveness of his method on several continents and argues that this can be a major contribution to sustainability and a positive adjustment in the carbon balance.

For further information go to:

Dr. Will Grant @ TED Salon Canberra April 17

Will Grant is a science communicator and his address at today’s TED demonstrated how we get messages out into our community and get solutions funded. His visual approach to explaining issues like solar v coal as power sources was effective. His approach to crowd sourcing and his  warning that there was a need for networking and a recognition that issues must not derail the quest for solutions came across as real world.

Will can be contacted through:

Marcus Dawe @ TED Salon Canberra April 17

One of the presenters at TED in Canberra today was a local businessman and entrepreneur Marcus Dawe. He explained his commitment to environmental thinking and practice. His current grand scale project is a system of locking up carbon in rock that can be used in building, paving and other practical uses. He has backers for the project and plans for scaling up production are in train.

Further information is at


Jahla Gator @ Ted Salon Canberra April 17

Jahla Gato has a climate research background and some training in Philosophy. In her talk she observed that previous models of relationship with the environment are now inadequate. We are not conquerers or stewards, we need new models. We.are.vulnerable.and powerful at the same time. Jahla talked us through the dissonance we feel about involvement with environmental issues and the sense of dis-empowerment  that pervades our attempts to make change.
Her challenge was for us to recognise the limits of our actions and that responsibility is not simply individual but group as well. While clicdivism and
slackdivism are inadequate and ethical purchases that just includes the our commitment in higher price hardly constitutes strong action. She asks us to use integrity to involve our lives in action that does make a difference.