Oh the humanity! Three exhibitions at Wollongong City Gallery

The first exhibition is Generations.

Did you know the Wollongong City Gallery is currently exhibiting work by one of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists?

Hossein Valamanesh was born in Iran but immigrated to Australia in the early 1970s, and now lives in Adelaide. His work is displayed in pretty much every major gallery in the country, including the art galleries of South Australia, West Australia, and the National Gallery in Canberra.

And he has a couple of works on show in the Generations exhibition in Wollongong until February 26th.

One is a six metre ladder attached to a high ceiling with a round mirror at the top.

“The image of the ladder I’ve used for many years but this work was in regards to what is reality and what is dream and how long is a piece of string,” he said. “It’s like an escape hatch you can’t reach but it’s just close enough to feel like you can.”

The work is part of an exhibition that showcases artists with a cultural background outside Australia.

His son Nasseim is a film maker and also has a video piece in Generations.


Story and picture from the ABC.

The second exhibition is of objects and statements by former refugees and migrants: Collections of Hopes and Dreams. Very moving. I propose to return and spend much longer with these things.


The third exhibition is Local: Current 2011. Among the items are these beautiful objects in glass by South Coast Koori artist Noel Lonesborough.


Go on upstairs and there is not only the beautiful former Council Chamber but also some first rate examples of Aboriginal art.


What was hot here in 2011

On this blog

  1. Home page 15,901 views in 2011
  2. Being Australian 16: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 9 – my tribes 1,958
  3. Jack Vidgen–Australia’s Got Talent last night 1,497
  4. Australia’s Got Talent 2011 Grand Final 1,463
  5. Thanks, Tilly and Kate! 1,443
  6. Nostalgia and the globalising world — from Thomas Hardy to 2010 1,314
  7. A very personal Australia Day 26 January – my family 1,135
  8. The Rainbow Warrior 532
  9. Has school bullying increased? 432
  10. About 390
  11. Being Australian 11: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 4 369
  12. About last night’s “Send them back…” and Paul Sheehan 353
  13. Wollongong local history 336
  14. Who to vote for on last night’s Australia’s Got Talent 331
  15. Inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style revisited 311
  16. Australia not earthquake free 299
  17. Queensland floods 283
  18. Australia’s flood crisis 256
  19. Being Australian 1 — Waleed Aly on SBS last night 254
  20. This may well be the best Australian history book I have EVER read! 238
  21. Leaky Boat: the documentary 234
  22. In the matter of David Hicks 229
  23. Australia Day: Being Australian 227
  24. Best documentary on climate change so far… 221
  25. Being Australian 12: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 5 211

FotoSketcher - auburn3a

The blogger in 1944

The photo blog

  1. Home page 5,937 views in 2011
  2. For those in the flood areas 122
  3. The amazing Surry Hills Library 1 112
  4. Small Buddhist temple 3 100
  5. From the cardiac social club… 98*
  6. Saturday: night vision — bats on the move 91
  7. Kiama: the blow hole 81
  8. The Carrington Hotel, Bourke Street 80
  9. Where I am right now… 76
  10. Loving Surry Hills 24: mosque 75
  11. Return to The Bates Motel 75
  12. Single Origin Coffee Surry Hills 75
  13. New work at Wollongong Town Hall 70
  14. Old haunt derelict now 67
  15. Korean War Memorial Moore Park 61
  16. Shellharbour 2 – Beverley Whitfield Pool 60
  17. Wollongong Mall 60
  18. The ultimate old photos post 59
  19. Paddy’s Market to Ultimo 2 – the markets 55
  20. My Australia Day in The Gong – 4 55
  21. Surry Hills: The Kirk – 1 51
  22. 2011 51
  23. Sinful: Wednesday is Schnitzel day at the Hellenic Club… 50
  24. Slideshow experiment 48
  25. Saturday: Baby Toshiba in the cardiac ward 45


* #5:

New Year’s Eve minus two days


This morning

Took that on my way to the newsagent where I bought:


It appears from that lead story that the Hellenic Club could become even more popular.

Lamb shanks at The Hellenic Club – salivate!

For several months a stream of mostly young men and women, fresh off the plane from Greece, has been knocking at the doors of a large building on Lonsdale Street in the heart of Melbourne. The 1940s block houses the headquarters of Australia’s biggest Greek community. In scenes reminiscent of the great gold rush at the turn of the 20th century, the men and women have travelled to the other side of the world in search of a better life. Unlike Greeks of old, however, these new émigrés are noticeably accomplished, with hard-earned degrees won in some of the toughest fields.

"They’re all university graduates, engineers, architects, mechanics, teachers, bankers who will do anything for work," says Bill Papastergiades, the community’s lawyer president. "It’s desperate stuff. We’re all aghast. Often they’ll just turn up with a bag. Their stories are heartbreaking and on every plane there are more," he told the Guardian in a telephone interview. "A lot come here and are literally lost. We’ve taken to putting them in houses, five or six of them at a time, here in the centre." …

This year alone, 2,500 Greek citizens have moved to Australia although officials in Athens say another 40,000 have also "expressed interest" in initiating the arduous process to settle there. An 800-seat Australian government "skills expo" held in the Greek capital in October attracted some 13,000 applicants.

With Greece braced for a fifth year of recession, unemployment at a record 18% – and an unprecedented 42.5% of the nation’s youth out of work — the brain drain is only expected to grow. The Australian economy, by contrast, is predicted to grow 4% in 2012…

My eye was also drawn to Why pretend we know everything? It’s time to embrace uncertainty by Suzanne Moore. Oh yes, that’s my kind of thinking!


In addition…

Fascinating story in the December Atlantic Monthly: The End of Chinatown by Bonnie Tsui. Not only are Greeks leaving Greece, but Chinese are leaving the USA, bound for China.

… “Now the American Dream is broken,” Shen tells me one evening at the career center, his fingers drumming restlessly on the table; he speaks mostly in Mandarin, and Yu helps me translate. Shen has mostly been unemployed, picking up part-time work when he can find it. Back in China, he worked as a veterinarian and at a school of traditional Chinese culture. “In China, people live more comfortably: in a big house, with a good job. Life is definitely better there.” On his fingers, he counts out several people he knows who have gone back since he came to the United States. When I ask him if he thinks about returning to China, he glances at his daughter, who is sitting nearby, then looks me in the eye. “My daughter is thriving,” he says, carefully. “But I think about it every day.”

Recent years have seen stories of Chinese “sea turtles”—those who are educated overseas and migrate back to China—lured by Chinese-government incentives that include financial aid, cash bonuses, tax breaks, and housing assistance. In 2008, Shi Yigong, a molecular biologist at Princeton, turned down a prestigious $10 million research grant to return to China and become the dean of life sciences at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. “My postdocs are getting great offers,” says Robert H. Austin, a physics professor at Princeton.

But unskilled laborers are going back, too….

New Year’s Eve minus three days

And Month 10 of The Quit.

n_MyQuit_RollOnly 303 days, 7 hours, 22 minutes and 19 seconds smoke free. 15165 cigarettes not smoked. $9,696.00  saved.

I have noticed a crop of the usual banal arguments about religion, atheism, etc etc in both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Illawarra Mercury. Boring, I say, but I guess people will have their say. Well, I do too, don’t I? So I thought I’d recycle a couple of things from last September.




Waiting for Maggie


In Wollongong Greater Union this afternoon where Cheap Tuesday over-rode public holiday considerations – so for $10 I saw The Iron Lady. And yes, it is as good as everyone says, and no, whatever I may have thought about Margaret Thatcher was kind of beside the point. Think King Lear, perhaps, with Maggie as Lear rather than as Goneril and Dennis perhaps The Fool…

smiley-happy005smiley-happy005[3]smiley-happy005[5]smiley-happy005[7]smiley-happy005[9] A must see.

There are so many things in the news to comment on…

… some of them just awful, such as those Christmas Day attacks in Nigeria. But I propose to ignore them all in favour of a really nice article in the New York Review of Books. I like Mary Beard’s Do the Classics Have a Future? because am one of those who studied Latin at school and university, and am very glad I did, but also because Mary Beard doesn’t say exactly what you may have expected.


Robert Browning and his son Robert Barrett Browning in Venice, November 1889


… The voices insisting that we should be facing up to the squalor, the slavery, the misogyny, the irrationality of antiquity go back through Moses Finley and the Irish poet and classicist Louis MacNeice to my own illustrious nineteenth-century predecessor in Cambridge, Jane Ellen Harrison. When I should be remembering the glories of Greece, wrote MacNeice memorably in his Autumn Journal,

I think instead
Of the crooks, the adventurers, the opportunists,
The careless athletes and the fancy boys…
…the noise
Of the demagogues and the quacks; and the women pouring
Libations over graves
And the trimmers at Delphi and the dummies at Sparta and lastly
I think of the slaves.

Of course, not everything written on the current state of the classics is irredeemably gloomy. Some breezy optimists point, for example, to a new interest among the public in the ancient world. Witness the success of movies like Gladiator or Stacy Schiff’s biography of Cleopatra or the continuing stream of literary tributes to, or engagements with, the classics (including at least three major fictional or poetic reworkings of Homer in the last twelve months). And against the baleful examples of Goebbels and British imperialism, you can parade a repertoire of more radical heroes of the classical tradition—as varied as Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx (whose Ph.D. thesis was on classical philosophy), and the American Founding Fathers…

You will, I suspect, already have spotted all kinds of different assumptions about what we think “the classics” are underlying the various arguments about their state of health: from something that comes down more or less to the academic study of Latin and Greek to—at the other end of the spectrum—a wider sense of popular interest in the ancient world in all its forms. Part of the reason why people disagree about how “the classics” are doing is that when they talk about “the classics” they aren’t talking about the same thing. I don’t plan to offer a straightforward redefinition. But I am going to pick up some of the themes that emerged in Terence Rattigan’s play to suggest that the classics are embedded in the way we think about ourselves, and our own history, in a more complex way than we usually allow. They are not just from or about the distant past. They are also a cultural language that we have learned to speak, in dialogue with the idea of antiquity. And to state the obvious, in a way, if they are about anybody, the classics are, of course, about us as much as about the Greeks and Romans.

But first the rhetoric of decline, and let me read you another piece of gloom:

On many sides we hear confident assertions…that the work of Greek and Latin is done—that their day is past. If the extinction of these languages as potent instruments of education is a sacrifice inexorably demanded by the advancement of civilisation, regrets are idle, and we must bow to necessity. But we know from history that not the least of the causes of the fall of great supremacies has been the supine-ness and short-sightedness of their defenders. It is therefore the duty of those who believe…that Greek and Latin may continue to confer in the future, as they have done in the past, priceless benefits upon all higher human education, to inquire whether these causes exist, and how they may be at once removed. For if these studies fall, they fall like Lucifer. We can assuredly hope for no second Renaissance.

Now, as you will have guessed from the rhetorical style, that was not written yesterday (although you could have heard much the same points made yesterday). It is, in fact, by the Cambridge Latinist J.P. Postgate, lamenting the decline of Latin and Greek in 1902—a famous lament, published in an influential London magazine (The Fortnightly Review) and powerful enough to lead directly, over one hundred years ago, to the establishment in the UK of the Classical Association, whose aim was to bring like-minded parties together explicitly to save the classics.

The point is that you can find such lamentations or anxieties almost anywhere you look in the history of the classical tradition….