Friday, July 31, 2009

From the Papers

from w
Delegates to a Labour Party Conference found the speakers not as interesting as mobile phones and newspapers and dreaming. Outside though apparently there was a protest about the party forgetting where they should be at. NO, I wasn't there. I don't join political parties nor go to any of their meetings. None of them are perfect and I'm interested in issues, one at a time.

I've fiddled with a photo from today's Age newspaper. I'm sure the painter, John Brack, would have had a field day drawing faces there.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Geelong City Streets

from w
I did two very ordinary sketches on street corners in Geelong but haven't much enthusiasm for drawing at present. Anyway here are some variations. The Easter Island kind of face was quite accidental!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Going to a Fijian church in Melbourne

from w
This is a continuation of a post in babasiga blog. Peceli and I took photos yesterday at the Coburg Uniting Church in Melbourne at a combined service for Fijian migrants. I went out with the fifty Sunday School children where two young Fijians led games etc. Young mothers and babies joined us and I mainly looked after a shy little kid who wouldn't join in. Meanwhile next door the worship was in full swing, marvellous voice, and a kind of unison praying in the Tongan manner, hearts heavy with the reality of the Fiji Methodist Church in big trouble with the military regime and the on-off-on-off conference planned for August. The Fijian communities in Australia plan to raise over $150,000 as a gift to the Methodist Church in Fiji, intended for a ceremony to close the conference but heaven only knows how the 300,000Methodists in Fiji will manage their annual meeting tasks this year! About eight leaders were arrested last week and four charged with disobeying the emergency regulations! A high female chief was arrested at midnight in her home by 16 men as well for her message on-line that the Conference is still on!

from w

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Artists' books

from w
On Saturday I went to view the Books Crossing display at the Geelong Art Gallery expecting to find glorious pages of drawings from artists' books but many of the items were a bit wimpy and uninspired. However there were three that caught my attention - one using lettering, and with the other two the artist had created sculptures by chopping into the pages of books. Well, I guess that is one way of recyling! I was really hoping to see notebooks or sketchbooks of artists such as John Wolsley but I suppose his notebooks etc. would have been very costly for the Deakin University to purchase for this collection that is on a tour at present. These are my photos and I dunno if you are allowed to do this - I wouldn't do it to the Mona Lisa, but hey!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recycled buildings in Geelong

interior of the former St Giles
from w

From woolstores to a university campus
From a woolstore to a museum/café/nightclub
From Mission to Seamen to a restaurant
From St Giles church to a restaurant then nightclub then offices
From a church in the Bellarine wildwood to a café
From Shenton church to a school theatre
From a manse to music practice rooms (where we once lived)
From a manse to a medical centre for women
From Swanston Primary School to a mental health institution
From Geelong gaol governor's house to a mental health drop-in centre
From a gaol to a financial counselling meeting place
From a private house to a bed-and-breakfast
From a church to an artist's studio
From a monastery to a Baptist centre
From a Sunday school building to a drama classroom
A courthouse to a youth centre
From West Geelong Town Hall to a migrant resource centre
From a pre-school to rooms for migrant activities
In Queenscliff, from a church to a bric-a-brac/craft/art sales outlet
From a Methodist church to a mosque
From a bay-side shed to a restaurant
From a squatter's home to a museum
In North Geelong, from a home to council chambers to adult training centre
From stables to a maritime museum
From council yards to Donation in Kind
From a bowling facility to a chapel (removed and rebuilt)
The list goes on and on.

As society changes, many buildings in Geelong have been recycled for different purposes. For example, the woolstores closed because Geelong no longer was a port for wool.

Why have so many churches closed? The formation of the Uniting Church meant the closure of many church buildings as three denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational) amalgamated. But others just lost members and were no longer viable. There are still some old stone churches standing, perhaps heritage listed, but their immovable furniture and old-fashioned look doesn't work well with living in the 21st century. Our Geelong East Uniting Church went against the trend by an inspired decision to move a redundant building, part of a lawn bowling facility in Belmont to become transformed into a modern chapel on a hill up Boundary Rd.

There was plenty of movement at the hospital site nearby - Gsxter House (for babies)moved to where the Dax House psych ward was, the psych ward went to the Swanston Street Primary school site. A Private hospital replaced Baxter.

The gaol closed because a new one was built - out of town, out of sight! but the gaol has some shifts in its time:
from 1853 Gaol for convicts and prisoners
1865 - 1872 Industrial school for girls (street kids)
From 1877 Hospital gaol
1940 - 1947 Army detention barracks
1947- 1958 Hospital gaol
1958 - 1991 Training prison
Since then - all kinds of activities including ghost tours at night! The old gaol still seems to have horrible vibes from the past and when I was there last week, in the mental health waiting room being chatted at by a guy who thought I was 45, I can tell you I was not comfortable!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

drawing of derelict house

from w
Based on the photos I took a few days ago, here is a sketch I did using just a blue biro, but as you can see it's altered a little.


Monday, July 20, 2009

From gumnuts to abstraction

from w
From two photos, one layered over the other, I took of gumnuts, sticks and leaves found in nearby Myers Street, I messed about until I made some more kind of abstract pictures. (Anything to get out of housework eh!) I have previously posted some pictures made from these photos.

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This old house

from w
There's a tumbledown house on the road the Bannockburn, and another nearby, that makes one want to ask what is the story there. Why weren't they pulled down and the land tidied up? Did the farmer just walk away for some reason? I took a photo there yesterday on the way back from a trip to the little town of Rokewood to attend a friend's mum's funeral. These small towns are so different to cities - plenty of space, lovely rows of pine trees, twisty gum trees, some with picturesque hillsides like Teesdale and Shellford and the people in the cafes actually talk to you! (Click on any picture to see enlarged.)

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Connecting with people

from w
How different is the world today in the way we catch up with people, pass on messages, have immediate access to linking with friends and families. There’s too much out there! I don’t 'twitter’, I don’t use a mobile, though I call other people who have mobiles. I am not a chatterer on the phone either though I do chatter using a computer keyboard. There’s email, gmail, facebook, google, blogs, radio programs, print media, TV, church notices, as well conversations while drinking coffee an eating cakes! And the door knocking as well.

Last week there was so much going on in our household with messages by email and phone and the blogs that demanded attention. To be spontaneous and immediately respond is the way it sometimes happens, (Peceli occasionally wants to book a flight to Fiji!). At other times there’s a need to say, ‘Hey, hold on, think about it.’ Do you need to pass on this information or keep it to yourself? Do you need to get agitated and say/write something ‘political’? Do you need to get involved?

Do you need to jump in the car and visit somebody? Sometimes it’s No! Peceli usually says, ‘Yes, do it!’

Five stages of separation – well, it’s hardly more than two to get to the Queen and Fiji’s top guys. Been there, done that. Over many years there’s a huge network of acquaintances. Just this week I’ve caught up with two friends going back 30 years – via Facebook, though I don’t access that much, but it’s there.

I’ve been re-reading ‘The Shack’ and though I get annoyed a few times with parts of it, there’s one comment in it about living in the present moment, not in the past, or imagining the future. That is partly true – we really only have the tasks of today. However if we don’t have memory that goes back a long time, connections today don’t always make sense. We do need to remember our relationship with old friends, acquaintances so that we can re-connect again. Also, by looking back, you can see the warp and weft of life and that perhaps our Creator has had a hand in it all.

Does any of that rave make any sense to you?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

When East Geelong churches combined

from w
Some time ago I made a picture by using Fijian masi and sketches of churches that combined into one parish in East Geelong - after Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodists came together. The pencil and a bit of colour sketches are of Shenton church,(now the music/drama theatre of Geelong High School) the bell tower of the original Shenton, - (also part of Geelong High School) St Andrews, (still going) Garden Street Congregational (now a studio house for an architect and potter) Ormond Rd Methodist - now East Geelong Uniting, (still going and my home church) a seagull for luck, and scratched words in cememt from the back garden of the Shenton Manse where we lived for nine years. Our house became the music studios of the high school so I was happy about that.

Sorry it's not square but light from a window crept over it when it was straight!
The picture is in the vestry these days - where no-one much sees it!

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In response to the violence against international students

photo from 'Crosslight'.
from w
In response to the violence against international students in Melbourne, an interfaith gathering was arranged at Box Hill Uniting church. Here are some notes from a report about this experience from the Uniting Church website.

Interfaith gathering of prayer for peace and harmony

People of many faiths met together on Sunday afternoon, 5th July 2009, to show their support for Indian and other overseas students. The gathering of 150+ people at Wesley Uniting Church, Box Hill (Melbourne), was a response to recent events where Indian students living in Melbourne have been threatened, attacked and racially vilified. The gathering provided an opportunity for leaders of the Hindi, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities to offer prayers for peace. The gathering was also addressed by the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, Simon Overland, and the Moderator of the Uniting Church's Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, the Rev Jason Kioa.

The gathering was an initiative of the Uniting Church's Hindi Fellowships at Blackburn North and Dandenong co-convened by the Rev Dhirendra Narayan and the Rev Chris Meneilly. Chris Meneilly, in stating the purpose of the gathering, explained that as the Indian (and other international) student community feels isolated and afraid, it is important that an opportunity be provided to show that faith leaders and the wider community are supporting them in this time of uncertainty. Also, it’s a unified statement of peaceful support of a community which respects the rights of its citizens and wishes to pray for peace and harmony.

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland expressed his concern at recent events and stated that brutal attacks which are racially motivated are completely unacceptable in the Australian community. He pledged the Police Force's determination to work towards a society where we value one another and in which racism has no place. He noted that he regularly meets with community leaders of many ethnic groups and that he encourages them and the Force to continue to work together for peace and harmony.

Moderator Jason Kioa shared the story of his own experiences of coming to Australia and being locked up at a migrant detention centre. He stated that the acceptance of many nationalities in our multicultural nation is fundamental to the way our society works. He reminded the gathering that such acceptance, and our responsibility to live in peace and harmony, is enshrined in the words of our National Anthem, particularly in the second verse:

"For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair."

During the gathering, leaders of Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths offered prayers for peace and harmony. Despite the differing faith backgrounds, each prayer had striking similarities: acknowledging our dependence on a God who wishes the best for the creation; and challenging us to see one another as equals, all being part of a community which values peace and respect.

A musical group sang Bhajans (Hindi religious songs) within the service, each calling upon God’s love and that we share that love for others.
The music did add to the special nature of the gathering and it was not a problem that the words could not be understood by everyone. The music was an important component of creating an atmosphere of calm and reflection.


Text written by Geoffrey Willis, member of Mountview, Mitcham UCA.


Additional notes from Chris Meneilly:

Another great aspect of the occasion was the relaxed atmosphere and people mingling easily, taking advantage of the opportunity to chat with the Chief Commissioner simon Overlandand his wife Barbara.

To close the service a young Indian student, Ms Ravinder Kaur said, “…thank you to everyone who spoke and prayed” and “that while we live, study and continue to reside in Australia, this country for all of us is our home”. She was very warmly applauded! At the afternoon tea people took seriously the opportunity to deliberately speak with people from communities different than their own, folk they did not know.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

butterflies and flutterbies

from w
Layering again with three pictures of butterflies this time using Picasa. I'm in a better mood this morning after phoning my server about a password. Something interfered with my email and this nice guy told me what to do to fix it. It's a bit sad when a few missed emails gets to you isn't it?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

the creeping new suburbs

frmo w
The Macmansions are rising in the outer suburbs and very small crowded in block kind of houses. That's the cheaper options for new home buyers, but so far there's not much in the way of gardens and trees. Maybe you need from $350,000 to buy a house and block in the Melbourne and Geelong suburbs where there is little so far in the way of community function centres, churches, etc. There's an Australian painter (can't recall his name now) who died recently who was renowned for his ugly pictures of suburbia. Here's my take on these houses. Some communities are even gated - yesterday I had to get a code to get through a high gate to visit one home. #000#etc.

later: It's Howard Arkley and I found this article and pictures.
Christopher Bantick
January 20, 2007 12:00am

I LIVE in a Howard Arkley house. He died not a kilometre from where I live, alone in his studio from a heroin overdose.

Arkley (1951-1999) is known for his iconic paintings of suburbia. His candy-coloured fluorescent images of air-brushed suburban brick veneer and Californian bungalow houses have helped to define the way Australians see the suburbs. Similar to artists such as William Frater, Grace Cossington Smith, Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff and Douglas Annand's images of Townsville, Australian artists who painted the suburbs have often depicted them as stultifying places of squalor or boredom. Albert Tucker's Spring in Fitzroy coalesces the vacuity of the suburbs in one forlorn image.

Arkley understood the crushing sameness of the suburbs and yet his work, beyond the lurid colours, reaches another level. This is largely the insidious darkness associated with suburban life. The suburbs may be claustrophobic and chaotic, but they are unforgiving places as well.

As you walk the same streets of Melbourne's Oakleigh that Arkley walked, his assessment of the suburbs can seem shocking but compulsive. "It's like looking at my own paintings. I can't believe it. My God, I thought I was hyping it up. I thought I was making an imaginative statement. But no, it's real."

Just how important Arkley is to contemporary perceptions of the suburbs is explored in Carnival in Suburbia: The Art of Howard Arkley, by John Gregory (Cambridge University Press, $99). It is a book which attempts to contextualise Arkley's work and also offer a perspective on his contribution to our understanding of suburban life. It achieves this moderately well.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Overlapping pictures

from w
Scanning in cut out pictures, then sorting them two by two, I played around with simple collages. The source pictures were from old magazines, newspaper cuttings etc. - of Federation Square, the suburbs, and I don't know what! Make up the titles afterwards? Diamonds and lace, Spirit (though that's going a bit far!) and so on. Sometimes this works out in interesting ways, at other times it's just patterns and I should be doing other things such as cleaning the kitchen cupboards!

Click on any picture to see enlarged if you wish.