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Odyssey in the desert

Behind The Doors: An Art History From Yuendumu

Odyssey in the desert

Behind the Doors: An art history from Yuendumu

The painting of the Yuendumu doors in 1984 by Warlpiri artists, whose country is north-west of Alice Springs, represented an extraordinary moment in Australian art and modern art generally. In the 1980s some Aboriginal elders painted the doors in the Yuendumu School building to prompt students to show respect for their school and as a marker of their culture. It was the first time that they had painted using acrylics (not ochres), in colours never before used, to record the major stories of their community.

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Tottenham Court Road Tube Station – A Romance With Intrigue

tottenham court photo 300London in January. An unforgiving place for a young fellow from
Melbourne on his own.

You can ignore, living in our paradise in the south, how hard and disinterested the world can be, especially with the sun setting on dark and dreary days in London at 4pm or thereabouts.

Of course, it’s the greatest place with a little spare change in the pocket, which I didn’t have.

It is Saturday morning in Russell Square, and Chelsea is playing Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Football, the beautiful game, on which I was reared by a migrant father who had thrown up the shutters on all the Australian games - which were either too violent or too boring, or too many rules or not enough.

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Just Say What?

My wife moved to Israel from Melbourne at age 18, and planned to spend the rest of her days there. It was a defiant gesture on her part about where Jews should live. A put down to the vicious Nazi assault on the Jewish people only a small number of years before.

I had not developed any particular capacity for defiant gestures. To the contrary, all my post-Holocaust teaching was disposed against defiant gestures. After all, it would only take one defiant gesture in wartime, and you would be killed on the spot or carted away to die. Defiance was for the quick or the dead.

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Last hurrahs

Scenes from Village Life - Amos Oz

The redemptive power of dreams

Scenes from Village Life, by Amos Oz

Amos Oz, who is at the pinnacle of Israeli writing, epitomises the role of writer as a voice of hope, a moral guide, as well as the spinner of dream tales. Speaking recently at the Melbourne Town Hall, Oz captured the mood of progressive thought in Israel when he spoke of the pressing need for a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian–Israeli crisis, where the warring forces would negotiate over the small tracts of land at issue, and would respect each other’s claims of sovereignty over their lands as indigenous peoples and equals. With his gift for striking images, Oz spoke of a time when Israel and Palestine would have embassies in each other’s countries. Israel, Oz declared, should be the first state to recognise the new state of Palestine. But is it all a dream?

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Letter From Brazil


It is odd to thinks of the negative press around the World Cup before we arrived in mid June. It may be that the heavy police presence was a factor as was the apparent incarceration of favela youth in their slums by police acting as guards, but we did not hear or see of any street trouble. To the contrary, the good people of Rio and other places went out of their way to help us when we began to look lost (which happened with disturbing frequency), with little or sometimes no prompting, often with faltering or no English, but with a genuine sense of Brazilian hospitality and kindness.

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