Gathered together again @CMAG

Indigenous art held by the Canberra Museum and Gallery is on display for the next few months in the upstairs gallery in an exhibition entitled Gathered Together. The works are quite distinctive and range from glass through a boomerang and shields to sets of prints and paintings.Every work was to my eye a visually striking and attractive object. I plan to go back for a more leisurely visit in a few weeks.
Today I went back to have another look and it gets better with a revisit. I took a couple of pictures with my phone that I have attached to this. There is a wonderful translucent green turtle shell with glass pebbles Underneath it creating a glistening wet look about the art work. Below is a linocut by Tatipai Barsa portraying migrating fish and their mating season. It is stunning to look at in its simplicity and clean lines

Whoever curated this exhibition has done a great job of reflecting an exciting community operating in a wide range of art styles and media.
The website is below


Paul Kelly @ National Portrait Gallery

One of the gorgeous features of the National Portrait Gallery is the little gallery space between the foyer and the main galleries. They use the space to focus on a set of themed portraits and change them over every few months. The text support and the website support is always good.
Paul Kelly, the legendary singer songwriter is the current subject of the exhibition. The dozen and a half portraits including two of the Portrait Gallery’s paintings span Kelly’s life from what looks like his teens to his middle age. Some are performance focused and others are of the man himself. Kelly is not someone I am really familiar with but it was great to read up on him and to see some of the video clips on the flat screen with the exhibition.
The page for this exhibition at the Portrait Gallery is:


Living between the Lines @ Belconnen Arts Centre

A fascinating exhibition mainly in black and white is on in one of the rooms at the Belconnen Arts Centre. The artist is Susanne Ilschner and the title of the exhibition is Living between the lines. The art is striking in its stark lines and visual excitement. There is text and line interwoven with images and the range of complexity is wide. Some images are simply black shadow puppet like shapes on white but every one of the works is engaging through the interplay between the lines and shapes.
I had the privilege of bumping into the artist while I was in the room and she walked me through one of the themes resulting from my interest in one of the images. There is an exile theme in part of the art and it has an autobiographical link to her life.
A lovely feature of this exhibition is that there is a delightful booklet available with the art that weaves poetry and other writing to give context to the art. Quotes and extracts from the writing of others expand the scope of how you can relate to the pictures.
I loved nearly all the images and the chat with the artist and the booklet were a bonus.
Belconnen Art Centre is at:
Another little link is

Paris to Monaro @ National Portrit Gallery

One person exhibitions are often a challenge for sustained interest and variety. The Paris to Monaro exhibition of the art of Hilda Rix Nicholas now on at the National Portrait Gallery does not face that problem. Her art ranges from landscapes through portraits,and design briefs to costumes.The set on display flows from her time in Europe and Morocco through to many works that displays her love of the wonderful slopes of the Monaro south of Canberra. The works reflect her touching love of her son Rix and the world in which he grew up with parties, horses, costumes and governesses.
Whoever curated the exhibition has included a delightful large alcove at the back that reflects the studio Hilda had built on her husbands in which she worked for many years. The wall has a few timber windows stuck on with painted Monaro scenes in the windows. There is furniture, crockery and objects from her travels scattered in the exhibition space. The exhibition includes half competed works, sketch books and fully developed paintings that have been hanging in major galleries and private collections.
It is not often fun oozes from the works on display but we thought Hilda would have been lots of fun to be around.When she was in London she would organise parties. Not ordinary parties but costume parties created with lots of attention to detail by Hilda. There are sketches of gorgeous Warratahs and Gum flowers turned into wonderful clothing for parties. After her son Rix was born her artwork has a delightful childlike exuberance about it. There are nursery rhyme pictures, riding, fishing and other childlike activities woven into the art. I have to say in summary I loved it all and may go back to have another look.
Note: the information panels in this exhibition are delightfully informative and are well spaced.

Her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography is at

Portrait Gallery page for the exhibition

Great shops at Canberra galleries

Art and creativity is not just on display in galleries in Canberra. For many of the venues there are attached shops that are a rich delight to behold because of the atractiveness of the artistry and creativity on display.

The Canberra Glassworks shop is a constant magnet to us whenever we attend an exhibition there. The shop is small with lit display cases around the walls and some glass topped display areas in the middle. The range of material in this shop is wonderful. The jewellery is winsome – colourful, intricate, often uncomfortable looking to wear but always has a “wow” element to it. The shelves are a constant delight of colour, form and function to various amounts. If you are ever short of some creative stimulatio,n the shop is worth a visit by itself.

The Beaver Gallery Shop is a constant surprise to us. There is a range of glass created by artists who exhibit at the Beaver but there are lots of other objects made of metal, ceramics and other materials. The space is light and the layout is easy to move around in. It is a rich visual feast every time.

Beaver Gallery
Canberra Glassworks

Fred Ward Furniture @ Gallery of Australian Design

My high school wood work teacher used to grimace every time he handed me any wood in class. He had a deep foreboding of the destruction that was coming. In lots of areas of life where I have no skill I have great admiration. Woodwork is one such area.

The current exhibition at the Gallery of Australian Design features examples of beautiful furniture created by a great furniture maker Fred Ward. When I walked into the gallery I had this feeling of coming home. I grew up in the fifties and sixties in Canberra and regularly visited the national institutions. I lived in a home furnished with Parker furniture – teak and plain fabric. Imagine my surprise walking into a gallery full of very familiar objects and find they are all the work of one designer of wood furniture Fred Ward.
Every object in this one man show is an object of simple beauty. Whoever curated it has brought together attractive furniture from the Academy of Science, the Australian National University and the National Library of Australia that show the skill and design flair of Ward. I have sat at some the tables and sat in the chairs and enjoyed them as I did so. The exhibition has many items of furniture that have been used and stood up to the wear and tear well. I loved one sideboard that had scorch marks in the Laminex – functional and well used.
Let me encourage you to have a look at this exhibition – it is quality and is beautiful.
Gallery of Australian Design
Ward’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Bill McKibben Do the Maths @ ANU

We live at a fascinating time where so much is happening and our capacity to be across much is diminishing. So last night for me as a Geography teacher was a wonderful event. Bill McKibben an environmental author and activist brought his presentation “Do the math to a big crowded lecture theatre at the ANU.

He is part of an organisation which is working to wind back our passion for pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. They are strongly committed to several programs such as Divestment (taking your money our of companies that invest in the fossil fuel industry) and several others that directly target the producers especially the Australian Coal Industry.

I like their style. So much talk over the last decade so it is nice to see direct action. Some of my marks of success were met at the event. He played a clip of a negative assessment of them by the head of the Australian coal peak body and also one of the Fox Newspundits being scathing.

The two websites are:

Road Ready training

Recently I attended a training session in the Road Ready driver education program. My, how things have improved since I was trained to drive. This course takes potential drivers through a dozen modules that cover every conceivable aspect of driving.from safety to legal issues to potential downsides.

The course has lots of hands on aspects from actually holding and using a speed gun on the street, wearing different intensity wrap around glasses to give the impression experienced by people at different levels of intoxication and simulation games of driving a car with lots of competing distractions.

The message that is given through the many aspects of the course is that driving is a privilege, it is a complex learned art and there are many things that can put our skill and needed attention at risk.  The course includes lots of clear unsettling statistics and several of the teaching videos are confronting using real life experience to make strong points.

In the ACT as I understand all potential drivers must go through one of these courses before they are allowed to get a permit to drive. It is good to know that people head out on the roads have a strong teaching base under their belt before they are let loose on the roads.

The road ready site is at



Japan – US relations and East Asian security with Professor Mike Mochizuki

A collection of centers at the ANU brought Prof Mike Mochizuki to Canberra. He is a well credentialed expert on this area working at George Washington University. He delivered a lecture on Tuesday May 28 at the Weston Theatre.
His presentation took us through the post war experience and some of the problem issues of rape by US soldiers, territorial claims on uninhabited rocks and historical denialism.
His lecture was a wide ranging analysis of a security focused situation involving many powerful states and historical processes. To me it seemed to miss elements that will play security roles. Population is shaping up to be an enormous factor. The aging population combined with a very low birth rate and no immigration will have big impacts. Debt is the other one. Here is a country that has high debt and has been struggling for over a come up with a way to approach its solution. I guess the focus is on straight security and his insights to all that was appreciated by the crowd.

Spain and renewable energy with Cayetano López @ ANU

The ANU often hosts delightful types on its public lecture program. Prof Cayetano López, Director General of CIEMAT was one such person. On Thursday, 23 May 2013 he presented a marvelous grand tour on the delivery of usable energy in all European countries with a special focus on Spain his home country. The lecture title “Renewable Energy in Spain: Technology and Politics” gave the scope spanning the possibilities and realities of economy, science and local factors.
I love it when someone comes along and opens my eyes to the complexity of an important issue. Professor Lopez showed the remarkable range of difference in the way European countries supply energy and I was only saddened that I had to go and could not stay for the Q & A. His material was stimulating – Thanks ANU.

Some more information is readable at: