Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lent theme continued

from w
By overlapping two pictures - the Lent (road or ladder) with the Weeping Women picture, I made some some collage pictures which became more abstract as they went along of course, not that that matters to me! Reversing the colours gives alternative views of the same shapes. Yesterday afternoon I stayed home instead of going up to Melbourne to Peceli's church, the excuse my recovering back which thankfully is getting much better now.

The second idea pursued was when I tried to control the shapes to be fairly symmetrical pasting cut paper on cartridge paper, then making new digital images. A bit boring though.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cook Islanders at Pako Festa

from w
Today was a celebration of cultural diversity in Geelong with the annual Pako Festa in Pakington Street Geelong. We are proud of our city being made up of diverse groups who get along harmoniously. Pako has been going on for 28 years now and our family have been part of it for a long time also. I posted pictures of the Fijian dance and song items etc. on the babasiga blog, but here will post a few pictures of a dance workshop by a group from the Cook Islands where the dancers taught some of the locals how to swing their hips in the Cook Island way. Of course lots more was happening at Pako with 100,000 people in the street festival sampling food, singing, dancing, with clowns and a whole variety of entertainment. While waiting for the Fijian item on the Park stage, I sat on a seat (because my back is still a bit sor) and yarned with a man who migrated from Croatia and a woman who came from Iran. Pako Festa is a day where you lose inhibitions and talk to everybody!

Today has been a day of mixed emotions for me as this morning I attended the funeral of a dear friend, an elderly man from our church, and there have been many funerals lately. It is very sad as we will miss our friend Geoff. Even though they say that 'Heaven is like a transfigured earth' and I think nothing could be more beautiful than the landscape of driving from Cobden to Port Campbell, a place that I often mentioned to Geoff and Laurel Port. Isa, our days are contradictions, light and heavy moment by moment.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thinking about Lent

from w
It's extremely hot and humid today - maybe 33 but feels worse. I'm back to the church office this morning as the back is getting stronger. So we were thinking about Lent programs, and I wanted to do some collages using the give-away magazine in the Age today. Not sure if one is of a ladder or a road but the idea is a journey of some kind. Another was accidental, the shapes resembled women totally covered so it could be Weeping women or something about the way women are confined in some societies. The little white bits were left when I trimmed the page from a spiral bound sketch book so I thought they resembled birds. I was listening to the ABC classical music station and Leontyne Price was singing Ave Maria so one picture of a modern girl seemed suitable as a young Mary. I'm going back to childhood I think as I used to cut and paste from the Women's Weekly many years ago!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rampant front garden and a Samurai's garden

from w
I am still mainly housebound as the back pain subsides a bit, so I did a sketch based on a random selection of plants in the front garden - cribbly pen of a chaotic garden. Also in the last two days I've read a book entitled 'The Samurai's Garden' and I have confused thoughts about it as some people highly recommended it. I found the theme interesting but the writer could have done much more - show the twenty year old young Chinese man in a Japanese village during wartime as being at odds with the community, show his tuberculous symptoms more, have less bowing politely and eating. The characters are interesting but there could have been so much more tension. I don't think the voice of a young man rang true. Of course the garden theme, the detail, calm, simplicity was lovely but a lifestyle of continually raking and changing stones around is just so different from the chaos and surprises of a chaotic garden.

I added some coloured pencil to the sketch, and also one based on plants in the back garden, then made negatives of them. Becomes a bizarre crazy garden then. Perhaps I need a Zen garden some day?

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Our vegetable garden

from w
All through the summer we have been able to have fresh veggies and they certainly have tasted better than the ones in the shops, especially the tomatoes. Beetroot, Chinese spinach, silver beet, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, chillies and pumpkins and the cantelope are coming. The only real failure was the sweet corn who were too hard, maybe the lack of rain.

I have been keeping fairly quiet lately with doctor's appointments to try and track down the lower back pain so I just did a scribble of some of the plants, added a leaf or two and got a few colourful results. The medical report isn't good though as it looks like the wear and tear of the years has meant something like osteo-athritus is here to stay. I thought that was for very old people! Now I know how my mother must have suffered quietly for many years. I'll have to work out strategies about exercise and so on. Anyway here's the garden plus a few extra colours.

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Trying to dance like an Aborigine!!!!

from w
Tonight we were watching the Winter Olympics on TV and I was astonished at the really awful Russian ice-skaters pretence at Aboriginal culture. I'm not an expert on ice skating but I know a bit about cultural appropriation and insults. What a dreadful display was the Russian ice skaters take on Australian aboriginal culture. Grossly insulting. No knowledge obviously of traditional dance or even the Bangarra's elegant modern dance. Their costumes were ridiculous, their dance moves a travesty and nothing like Aboriginal dance. The music too was stupid. Who were their dance teachers, their cultural advisers. Extreme ignorance, that's all I can say.

Though I do think it's alright for non-indigenous dancers to mimic a cultural dance, there needs to be respect and there was none in this display. How the judges could mark them up I don't know!

The Herald Sun writer is correct in the following words:
Russians Maxim Shabalin and Oksana Domnina win gold for tackiest stunt at the Winter Olympics Josh Massoud From: Herald Sun February 23, 2010 12:00AM
Elders offended over figure skating controversy.

THEIR tacky plastic gum leaves and red loincloths didn't win Maxim Shabalin and Oksana Domnina any Aboriginal friends at the Winter Olympics yesterday.
But the Russian pair look likely to land a medal thanks to the inflammatory routine - and they're not apologising for it.

After provoking fury among indigenous groups at last month's European Championships, Shabalin and Domnina hinted they would alter their costumes for the Games.

When they slid on to Pacific Coliseum for the original component of the ice dancing program yesterday, their facial paint had disappeared and Shabalin wore a lighter-toned brown body suit.

But there remained an abundance of ammunition to offend Australia's indigenous population. nfluential rights campaigner and academic Jacki Higgins said all Aborigines were entitled to feel insulted when they saw the dance last night.

Related CoverageNikki Ashby: Nothing cultural about this act
"I felt deeply insulted that in this day and age ice skaters would dress up like that," Ms Higgins said. It's comedy really. Like people dressing up as American squaws or black Americans with shiny faces. here's theft of intellectual property around this stuff. boriginal Australians would be entitled to feel insulted."

University of NSW global professor Dr Vivien Johnson described the costumes as "ludicrous" and was further insulted to learn the routine had top-scored and put the Russian pair six points clear ahead of today's final routine. Generally speaking, (the dance) is the most sacred and sequestered area of Aboriginal culture and it's not something you can mime on ice," she said. It's ludicrous and disrespectful. What were they thinking? They weren't thinking."

Back stage after the routine, the pair were confronted by reporters. Shabalin acknowledged the original outfits - in particular his chocolate-brown body suit - had caused offence and were "too much". "I don't know why it's offensive, but we had to change it a little bit and make it lighter," he said. Domnina said of the controversial dance routine: "Actually, we were happy about it. It showed that we touched something. No other couple got so much press."

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fiji Geelong Friendship Club

from w
Yesterday the Fiji Geelong Friendship Club had a farewell party for two of our members who are leaving us to go up and live in Queensland. Sad to see them go but that's life, coming and going of friends. We met in the home of Ninietta and Joe Cordone for a lovely afternoon of kava drinking, singing songs of the islands with guitars and a ukelele, telling stories and having a delicious meal which included a barbecue. We will miss the friendship of Ken and Selai very much. Here are a few photos of folk who were there. I was dosed up with a painkiller tablet wkhich made me sleepy but I managed five hours of partying. Our club has been going now for nearly twenty-eight years and started about the same time as the Pako Festa, Geelong's annual ethnic festival. We do have a website but haven't updated it for years because Billy of Bombay (Mumbai) offered to update it, changed the password then disappeared. Guess we have to somehow get another password. Our group meets on every second Friday evening and at other times for kava, meals, sharing with one another, helping people out in various ways.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Billboard over freeway

So, just who is the greatest? Francis MacNab's billboard above Monash Freeway. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jonesfrom w
I was astonished to read in the Age this morning that the Rev McNab has put up a billboard over a freeway advertising himself and his (old) new-style religion. Who is the greatest among us? Is he having a joke or what? Or have a 'senior moment' when he decided on this kind of advertising for St Michael's Church which used to be a lovely church with great preaching and hospitality. Francis McNab got a serve from the Uniting Church some time ago, but meekly and quietly the rage seemed to dissipate. Anything goes, even mishy mashy psychobabble in a church.

For a dose of faith, sign up BARNEY ZWARTZ
February 20, 2010
Dissident Uniting Church minister Francis MacNab has posted a giant billboard over the Monash Freeway with pictures of Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther King and himself as model leaders. Dr MacNab, minister of St Michael's in Collins Street, launched his ''new faith'' in late 2008 with another controversial freeway billboard: ''The Ten Commandments, the most negative document ever written.'' He rejects the idea of a divine Christ and a personal God. Yesterday he said the billboard was intended to give the new faith a lift for 2010 and show that individuals could make a big difference.

Others have accused him of self-promotion. ''Every morning I drive past and think 'what an impertinence','' said commuter Geoff Slattery, a Catholic.

Evangelical Uniting Church leader Max Champion spoke against Dr MacNab from the pulpit recently, accusing him of psychological manipulation and blatant self-promotion. The minister of St John's, Mt Waverley, he told The Age yesterday: ''Francis has missed the point of Christian faith - namely that 'our chief end' is to worship God and enjoy him forever, not to idolise ourselves. The 'new faith' is not new. Faith in oneself is the oldest form of self-centred religion.''
And on another tack, I noticed that Sister Mary McKillop is to be declared a saint by Rome in coming months. A wonderful woman, a teacher of the poor, a woman who would stand up against the bishops of the church, certainly she was saintly. I don't know about the criteria of miracles, and being a Proddy I don't dare go down that track, but if anyone deserves to be on billboards it is the men and women who care for the poor, heal the blind, visit the prisoners. You know the drift. But of course most saintly people don't like to be on billboards. In Geelong those Street Faces are not about high status or esteem, just a cross-section of faces from our multicultural city, ordinary, often shy, people.

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Street Faces in Geelong

from w
This evening we had the launch of the Street Faces project in Geelong, Australia. Of the twenty-eight faces chosen, Peceli's portrait is on the wall of the Geelong library. Buses took a group of us on a tour of Pakington Street and inner city Geelong to view some of the portraits of a cross-section of people from our wonderful community of Geelong. We had speeches, music, drinks and eats at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre as part of the launch. The project was organised by Diversitat and the City of Greater Geelong with several other sponsors and is part of the Pako Festa for 2010. Twenty-eight faces were used because Pako Festa is 28 years old and our Fiji group have been part of this huge ethnic festival for all of that time - with dancing, participation in the parade and in earlier years with crafts and a stall.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

quilt designs perhaps

from w
I should write out a hundred times 'I must not lean over my computer screen' as that might be part of my lower back aches - like a herniated disc. However - touch wood - the Nurafin pills are working and the bite has been taken away from the disabling lunges of pain that almost can beat labour pains!

Here are two collages of pics I've been working on - one the music of a Barcarolle, the other more kookaburras!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A flute riff and kookaburras

from w
They are still talking about that outrageous judgement against Men at Work and the flute riff ripping off the kids' song about a kookaburra, so I thought I ought to make an illustration about it, 'borrowing' one pic from the web, cutting up paper and a greeting card (thanks Lyn). I couldn't find the pic of the Men at Work flute player but found blue Krishna instead who does happen play the flute! I did these yesterday as today my back is crook and I am mainly resting. Ordinary tasks like lifting, picking up, twisting and turning are suddenly painful.

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