Shiny Bum Singers perform @ The High Court of Australia

Wow what a fun thing this was. I went to the High Court to see an exhibition of Japanese Architecture and it was surrounding the site of a concert by a group of people assembling to be entertained by the Shiny Bum Singers. They turned out to be a group of public servants who  formed a singing group to tell funny stories about their life and work. They seem to specialise in writing lyrics about government and politics without not too much partisan commentary. They sing them to familiar tunes from pop songs and other well known sources.

My favourite was a story of the heart of public service aspirations in their core benchmarks. The song set to a famous choral standard discussed the  key aspirations of phone, car,  bonus, and anther I forgot. They were having fun and the audience were obviously familiar with their world. It was Canberra afterall.

A contact website is below

Botanical Artists Exhibition @ Discovery Centre

One of the art exhibitions that is on in Canberra each year is the Botanical Artists Group exhibition at the CSIRO Discovery Centre gallery. The exhibition has lots of local artists who specialise in exact representation of plants. Some are the precise traditional representation of the detailed features of specific plants.Others are freer to play around with creative representation of the wide variety of living features in the plant world that surrounds us. One of the most surprising and striking was a set of luscious glossy red capsicums.Often the artists expose us to the more ordinary aspects of plant life. One painting that appealed to me was a clear representation of dehusked corn. It was on the same weekend as the opening of the Waterhouse at the Archives but it was worth seeing.

Jo Hollier Process and Possibility @ Belconnen Arts Centre

Print making is a vibrant and exciting form of art. Some people master it in very attractive ways and Jo Hollier is one of those.  Her exhibition Process and Possibility at the Belconnen Art Gallery is truly beautiful. Her combination of classic almost Fleur de Lit style forms and detailed drawing of natural plants and animals creates a wonderful visual feast. She uses colour and black and white. She uses contrasting elements to make her creations interesting and intriguing.

To see more of her work go to her website:


ACCEPA Art Exhibition @ Belconnen Arts Centre

This show is from a group called the Australian Chinese Culture Exchange and Promotion Association. It has works in it from five artists. They express themselves in many traditional styles with a very Chinese look to most of them.

The most remarkable work I have seen in ages was a thing called Canberra Festivals by Cunde Wang. This creation must be two metres high and it must be eight metres long. It is a truly glorious splash of colour and vitality. Mr Wang worked for a few years to create this work after his first attendance at the Multicultural Festival at which he witnessed belly dancing for the first time.

This extraordinary work has large pictures of belly dancers who Mr Wang has met embedded in a lush background of images connected with our various festivals. There are balloons, Ferris wheels, lots of flowers and birds, fireworks and a very large range of images. A sense of what it looks like can be seen from his webpage below.

Striking collection

2013 Members’ Exhibition @ Canberra Potters Society

Pottery is an interesting art form. The range of styles,materials, finishes and shapes seems limitless. The Canberra Potters society is active and operate from  from a centre at Watson. Their annual exhibition this year is exciting. There is a swagman that looks almost like he has rusted, there are functional objects of striking beauty and there are pure works of art that have no use other than to look good.


The above picture is of a prize winner in the overall category. The photo gives no clue to me of the glory of he work.It is almost like the Wedgewood dinner service I inherited from my mother, glossy white pottery with gold edging but each of the shallow bowls are small, irregularly shaped. The work is entitled Feeding the boat people A first world perspective. The artist is Velda Hunter and I had lots of fun in front of the work thinking through the bowls and the title. It was a great work and was surrounded by lots of others.

The Potters Society website is below

Parallel Nipon @ High Court of Australia

A display of panels illustrating Contemporary Japanese Architecture 1996-2006 is on in the grand scale foyer of the High Court of Australia. It is a rich gift to those of us who love visionary building design. The exhibition includes buildings of striking beauty and remarkable innovation. The curators have chosen a wide range of building types – office towers, hospitals, temples, homes, crematoria, churches, public halls sporting facilities and city infrastructure. Many of the buildings have an intangible Japanese look but lots are just great innovative design.

I loved the glorious beauty of some of the particular buildings. There are a couple of inviting and engaging low profile hospitals. There are some gorgeous brnad name exciting skinned buildings such as the Louis Vuitton shop. Some of the city infrastructure buildings such as transport interchanges and stadiums were fabulous.  I found it surprising that there were some great restoration works of some classic looking buildings that I had not associated with Tokoyo

I am thankful for the cooperation of the Japanese Embassy and the other participants in this exhibition. A cultural exhibition from Japan opens next weekend for ten days.

Govenment House Canberra 100 Picnic

Today a remarkable event was held at Government House in Canberra. The soon to be ex-Govenor General Quentin Bryce played host to possibly 20,000 Canberra citizens in the sprawling gardens of her official residence at Yarralumla. The event was part of the Canberra 100 celebrations. The gardens are beautiful with vistas to the lake and the mountains though wonderful plantings of native and imported trees interspersed with delightful borders of shrubs and annual plantings.

The event was easy to get to with shuttle busses bringing crowds of people from various Canberra interchanges and lots of local parking. At the event there were tours of the interior of the house. There were lots of musical performances on several stages. There were helicopter landings, vintage car displays, lots of food and drink supplied by community groups and heaps of stalls from community groups and craft types.

The host wandered through the gardens chatting with picnicers followed by some staff members. People sat on rugs or on lots of supplied plastic furniture. The weather was glorious with clear blue skies and and warm temperatures. The vibe at this event was wonderful. I saw a neighbour performing with a delightful musical combo and having known her for over 20 years I did not know she played an instrument.

Wandering around this beautiful sprawling estate I was puzzled about why such a protected gorgeous place and such a delightful set of buildings were allocated to such a ceremonial role. At the same time the little house on the cramped site on a noisy thoroughfare in Deakin is allocated to the Prime Minister. That house is so dilapidated it keeps having to have the occupant to live elsewhere.

Revolution of limits and the changing character of war at ANU

On Thursday 12 September 2013 Dr Albert Palazzo delivered a lecture on the above topic. His core idea was that the world faces a revolution produced by the global limits on the availability of lots of the core resources for ordinary life. Palazzo kept the tone away from the wrist slitting feelings that can be produced in looking at a few of the possible future scenarios. His clarity about the multi factorial considerations that face war strategists seemed to be accepted by the audience. The Q and A after was surprisingly up beat for someone like me who is aware of the huge potential for disaster but has a naive optimistic streak that makes me live as if nothing bad will eve happen.

I love the caliber of the programs put on by ANU schools. This one was at the College of Asia and the Pacific.

Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2013 @ National Archives Canberra

My favourite art show in Canberra every year is the Waterhouse. The show is the best of the finalists and all the prize winners in each category. It is held in the delightful little gallery space at the National Archives of Australia. Every year the artists create extraordinary celebrations of our natural world using a wide variety of media and styles..

The overall winner this year is a delicate shawl created out of paper and other natural elements. It is beautiful but not my favourite. So many beautiful items to choose from. Entrapercevoir by Stephanie Jane Rampton was a remarkable set of over sixty small panels in black and white portraying some gorgeous little bits of natural landscape. Gladdy Kemare Anwerkety (Bush Plum) is one of those magnetic indigenous paintings that draws you do it and in me evokes a strong desire to run my hands over it. There is a wonderful textural look about it and a rich earthy set of colours.

David Atkins thrilled my wife with his Flat screen Icon. He has created a painting of a rare marine creature in its in environment using raised gold paint on the bases of a collection of empty sardine tins.  It has a wonderful layered way of engaging us as the consumer.

One that really got to me was the Passing I and II by Senye Shen. It is a set of high energy waves done in white thread on green background. In so much of nature both in earthquakes and ocean waves there is a flow of energy that looks like these two images.

If there is any chance you can get into this make the effort.  all the works are on the website below but nothing gives you the idea of these great works like being in the room with them

Hard Pressed Print exhibition @ Magalo Print Gallery

As the first exhibition at the new Megalo Print Gallery at 21 Wentworth Avenue Kingston is a three person show. Ilona Lasmanis, Robyn McAdam and Steve Tomlin are three distinctive print artists with strikingly diverse approaches. I have attached three JPEGs of their work taken off the show’s prochure. In the room the contrast is striking. The set is of big boldly illustrated prints with geometric shapes and strong colours. A second set are small dark largely colourless but intricately engraved pictures and the third set is of more nature based almost fabric looking images interwoven with flora and fauna.
I was impressed with the prints the layout and the wonderful roomy exhibition space and I will be back to see more at this exciting venue. They are open 9.30am – 5.00pm Tuesday to Saturday. Their website is below: