ARTS AND CULTURE


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Vienna bronze

3 Comments
13 March 2017 | Michael Sariban

BronzeWhen she fell, at last, out of this life, I caught him as intended, solid as belief ... eyes raised, palms turned to Mecca, his fixed magnetic pole. A Vienna bronze, perhaps 1920s, most likely a Jewish workshop - a fusion of metals and cultures, before Holocaust, West Bank or Gaza; a figure in robes, on a small carpet, its yellows and reds realistically creased, his sandals ... Aesthetics ranked high in her life - a second, earthly religion - all the style she could afford in the world her parents had fled to.


Interracial romance's antidote to cultural appropriation

2 Comments
07 March 2017 | Tim Kroenert

Mildred would later say of Frank that 'he always took care of me'. Yet this telling of the story shows a more mutual exchange of strength and support than such a statement might imply. The Lovings' entanglement with the state of Virginia would ultimately lead to constitutional change in favour of interracial marriage, and Loving portrays Ruth as the main agent of the battle. At a time when cultural appropriation has become much talked about, this film by a white filmmaker shows a different way.


A glimpse of devastated home

2 Comments
05 March 2017 | Susil Pun and William Okello Kadima

Bombed buildings in HomsOnce upon a time it used to be a beautiful city. Suddenly it turned into a yard of sorrow and pity ... No matter which area, nobody ever suffers like people did in Syria.


To feel this world

28 February 2017 | Allan Padgett

ThylacineNotes that humans cannot hear include the sound of thylacines crying in a van diemen forest, a dodo's plaintive shuffle on a nearshore kiwi island, a mammoth's woolly orgasm on an ecstatic arctic tundra, an esperance dog weed's silent transpiration, the rumbles of a gastric brooding frog giving birth by burping - these things are far too late for caring. Things we need to see and taste include the surging milk of human kindness, the euphoric rainbow of random caring - these would make a nice day nicer.


How to survive the crucible of school bullying

7 Comments
23 February 2017 | Barry Gittins

Sad school studentSquarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.


Faith is torture in Scorsese's Silence

6 Comments
21 February 2017 | Tim Kroenert

It is the story of two 17th century Portuguese Jesuits who travel to Japan to locate their former mentor, who is said to have renounced his faith, and to spread Catholicism. They find the local Christian populations have been driven underground, under threat of torture and execution. The lesson they come to learn against this fraught backdrop is that the living out of religious faith and the strengths and limitations of ordinary humanity cannot be considered in isolation from each other.


We will never be free of all our debts

4 Comments
19 February 2017 | Sandra Renew

SpiderObserving the decades long incident is unbearable - although they have fallen beautifully time is not on their side, their ideals are consigned to fire. But do we care so little that when the fates convene and humans fail sumo-sized jelly fish and yellow crazy ants and ubiquitous spiders will be all that's left? Do we care so little and think we are free of all our debts? Did we think we were never so needy as to sell our dreams?


Down syndrome in and out of love

12 Comments
13 February 2017 | Gillian Bouras

Baby with Down syndromeA school mate of mine had a sister called Edith. I wondered why Edith didn't go to our school. 'Edith doesn't look like us,' I told my mother. 'No,' agreed mum, 'that's because she was born different from most people. But she's quite happy, and her family loves her. Babies bring their love with them.' Edith had Down syndrome. I know now my mother had a point: such children as I have observed in the long years since I knew Edith have been happy and loved. But it's not always the case.


Space race saga's Black history through White eyes

1 Comment
13 February 2017 | Tim Kroenert

There's a gag about sitting in the back of the bus, the realities of segregation dismissed with a giggle; references to university sit-ins and firebombings come via the eyes of a cartoonishly earnest character. Meanwhile the White characters are either the object of contrived sympathy, or too thinly drawn to invoke genuine menace. Accusations of 'cultural appropriation' might be uncharitable, but the short shrift given to the real, continuing hardships of Black experience raises questions about objectives and authenticity.


St Patrick's Ballarat

6 Comments
12 February 2017 | Tony London

St Patrick's BallaratThe chimneys of various shapes and sizes on the priest's houses next door, have not spumed since the winter, and in and around St Patrick's things like that might seem symbolic. Will fires ever be lit there again - lest the people speak - the ribbons spliced up and down the wrought iron railings, rattle in the brisk autumn breeze, telling stories of love, suffering and endless disharmony, broken trust, send messages to those in the passing traffic  ... better the devil you don't know ...


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