Reading My Way Around the World

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Canberra - the National Gallery

 Did you know that there are 2,200 Aboriginal languages in Australia?  There is currently a move to protect and preserve these languages - at least some of them.   Like Irish, which isn't spoken anywhere else in the world, these languages will eventually fade out.    But in Wales and in Israel they have managed to totally revive their languages within two generations, from never used to full fluency, of at least half the population in Wales' case and all the population in Israel.   That's no mean feat... All that's needed is the will. Surely it can be done here too.

We went to visit the indigenous artists section of the National Gallery in Canberra
These are a few of my favourite paintings.

This dress is a collaboration between a textile designer, photographer and dressmaker.   It's modelled on Maria's wedding dress from the Sound of Music and has images of shotguns all over it.   Hence the title  "Shotgun Wedding".   Clever.

And one of two Hockneys in the gallery - I haven't managed to catch a great picture of it but it was pretty amazing to see.   When we look at something our attention moves around to different parts of the whole - our eyes are constantly moving.   In this enormous canvas of the Grand Canyon, Hockney has tried to explore this trait by helping our eye to travel across the image in a random manner.

 The Sculpture Garden was my favourite bit - we had a picnic by the lake and then wandered around. This Chinese installation of floating heads was really eerie at first but very interesting the more we looked at it.

 This dome is in a separate part of the garden - it's like a hive sitting on water and with walls that taper inwards... all of it is reflecting the sky.

Inside, Tom looking up at the tiny opening to see the sky - I caught this double image in his sunglasses. 

 And the water flowing over the edge of the platform gave another reflection.

 Finally, back at the door of the Gallery, what looked like huge didgeridoos were set into gravel along a winding path.   It symbolised the settlements all along the river where Aboriginal people were moved on by the settlers. Very moving.


  1. What a fascinating place! And I didn't know that about the languages!x

  2. Hi Fil - I'm glad they're preserving the languages as best they can - the British Library has an ongoing project with the dialects. Cornish is sort of making a come back ...

    What a wonderful gallery to see and all the interesting, stimulating ideas around ... cheers Hilary

  3. That looks like a really interesting place to visit. That last photo is kind of haunting somehow.

  4. Hi, dear Fil! I am finally back after a long trip and got a bug - feeling weak now, but being in bed is also nice sometimes :) That's why I didn't read the blog befoe, though I knew you were in Australia - and it seems you had a great time! I am glad about it! I loved the paintings and also to know about the 2,000 languages that need to be rescued...that is really nice and needed! Loved the image on the sun glasses, it is very artistic to catch that moment! Happy Easter!!!!


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