Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pedal faster

My daughter is a member of the Darwin Cycling Club and they just had a ride to celebrate the Darwin Festival.

They caught the ferry to Mandorah across the harbour and then cycled 135km back.

I am very proud of her efforts. It took her five hours. Here is a photo of some of the bikes at the finish line.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Aboriginal Art Fair

Lots of screen printed fabrics.
Silk. Cottons. Silk-cotton blends. Linen.
How much? About $60 per metre for basics.
Today we went to the Aboriginal Art Fair. The Art Fair is on all weekend at the Darwin Convention Centre.
This is a big event and is held following the Telstra Art Award which was last Friday night. The Telstra Art Award is THE biggest Aboriginal art prize in the nation.

Wow! What can I say? There were art centres from the Kimberleys, from near Geraldton, and from many parts of the Northern Territory. Some centres are obviously more experienced and skilful at selling and promoting than others.

Massive fish traps were handing from the ceiling and had been threaded with tiny lights. Impressive. These may have been for sale, but you would need a rather high ceiling in your home.

Minutes after I saw this basket it was sold and wrapped for posting.
Size? About 70 cm high plus the handle. Very sturdy. Very fine work.
The quality was generally very high and the prices ranged from low to high. Mostly the works were based on traditional images. One company had a stall where your new purchases could be wrapped and sent anywhere in the world.

Paintings were cheap. You could get some traditional works for under $1000. Modern pieces were a little less. Not strikingly modern. I did not see any works on bark. Most were on canvas, but some were on paper.

Baskets have increased in price quite a lot. Nothing under $200. Plenty around the $1000 mark. The amount of time and effort that goes into these baskets is amazing. You would not sell your own work so cheaply.
This art centre worker was wearing a dress made from one of the fabrics.
Her own design. Absolutely stunning in real life.

Some terrific woven mats.

Interesting poker work.

Fabrics were expensive. Many were very beautiful. The panels from Torres Strait apealed to me the most. Maybe next year they might sell some scraps for patchwork. You would only need a few pieces and some coordinating plains.

Pottery was reasonable.

Beads were priced to suit the market, even the strings containing shells.

Sculpture was variable. I loved the turtle that was a combination of sculpture and weaving, but forgot to photograph it. Huge. Two metres across.
These pieces of pottery (or porcelain) was decorated in the Middle Eastern style,
but utilising traditional designs too.

I did not see any pieces of glass art even though the winner of the Telstra Art Award was a glass interpretation of a woven fish trap.

Did I see my friends? Yes, we met some.
Did I buy anything? Of course. Some striking hand printed cards will be great for special birthdays. And a hand printed shopping bag from near Alice Springs will really impress someone at Christmas time.

There were many demonstrations of artists working. Painting. Weaving. Carving.

And hundreds of people. And they kept coming. Parking? You wish! We walked for about 15 minutes from our parking spot to the convention centre. By the time we left, add another three or four minutes.
This artist was demonstrating a weaving method I had not seen before.
She used a combination of grass and pandanus.
See the Morning Star poles behind her.
The artists do not use ochre any more, but either proper artist's paints or acrylics from a hardware store.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Play reading

We went to a play reading the other day. Seniors were free.

The play is not a new one and had received heaps of publicity back when it was first produced. But I had never seen it. So off we went.

It is a monologue really, but OK.

It is just a rant about moving to a new place. I was surprised that anyone would feel sufficiently strongly to write about that. The story line is that a wife is told by her husband that they are moving to a new city far away because he has a job there. She is reluctant to move because she is happy where she is. The woman is vacuous. They move. Time passes. She realises that life can be good no matter where you live. She becomes a little less stupid but is finally starting to grow into an adult. A bit of a character study.

One cane chair on the stage, covered by a sheet when it represents Melbourne, and uncovered when it represents Darwin. Melbourne represents a huge city where people sit about gossiping instead of doing things. Darwin is the Paradise, and it is of course many people's idea of a tropical paradise. Not mine.

I was uncomfortable when some audience members laughed at the wrong times. The lines illustrated changes and hypocrisy. I prefer not to laugh at discomfort. That rather took the shine off my enjoyment. And the play is generally enjoyable.

Would I participate in this play if I had the chance? No, if I had to be on stage. Yes, but I would like the set to be different with more interesting lighting and some music. And furniture and props. It is good as a play reading, but as a complete play it would be too dull. Some lines need to be updated.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Darwin Cup 2013

We are in the midst of our racing season here. Horse racing. People come from interstate and also very remote places for this time of the year. This may mean a three day drive each way for some, or even longer if families stop for a break along the journey.

Hotels are jammed to capacity. People are even sleeping in parks and on footpaths.

We kicked up our heels at the Royal Darwin Show a week or so back. There have been several balls for those with social lives and money to burn. (Tickets for the Cup Ball were $450 each and 3 000 tickets sold very quickly indeed.) Concerts. Plays. Ballet. Opera. Special activities for Seniors. Parties. Batchelor had its Lingalonga Festival. Soon the Darwin Festival begins. And lots of horse racing with all that goes alongside that. Fashions on the Field. Ladies Day. Fancy breakfasts. Sooo much social activity.

Until yesterday during race 6.

Simone Montgomerie
Our biggest race meeting of the year was going very well. Men in suits, extremely unusual in this climate. Ladies dressed to the highest standard. Salons were open in the early morning for last minute hair dos. Pavilions for paying clients at the track. Competitions generating excitement. Bookmakers busy. Excellent catering. Massive crowd. Races were terrific. Happy punters.

During race 6 though a jockey fell from her horse, was trampled by the field, and died.

The meeting was then cancelled. Lots of tears. Distressed jockeys. Anxious turf club officials. Onlookers crying. A pall of gloom descended on the entire city. Investigations and inquiries were begun.

The jockey, Simone Mongomerie, was highly regarded and had been doing extremely well this season. She is a huge loss to the racing community here. A ghastly death. She leaves behind a husband and a young daughter.

My daughter used to work at the race track. The horse racing industry is filled with so many dangers for horses and people. My heart is filled with sorrow for all involved in this case.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Rocket science

"What part of NO don't you understand?" This is one of my favourite things to say to the cat when she is annoying me. Perhaps she says something similar back to me.

So ...