Recent Sydney Morning Herald

The Great War Exhibition, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Buckle St, Wellington April 23, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ mark tantrum.com)

Anzac Shows, New Zealand

May 2, 2015

Australia is allegedly spending $325 million on the commemoration of the First World War. This figure, we are told, is more than twice what the British have allocated, and 20 times the budget for events in New Zealand. Some will see this is a waste of money at a time when the government is preaching … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Trent Parke, Australia, born 1971, Swan, Adelaide, 2007, © Trent Parke/Magnum Photos

Trent Parke

April 25, 2015

Death and the photo are close relations, as every click of the camera records a moment that will never be repeated. What we tend to admire in a photographer is the ability to transcend this inherent morbidity, to take the stuff of everyday life and shape it into something strange and marvellous. No photographer could … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Robert Campbell Jnr, 'Giver of Life' (1986). Photograph: Artbank

Robert Campbell Jr.

April 18, 2015

Artbank, the Australian government’s art rental agency, has been around since 1980. It was an initiative of a Fraser administration returned to power for a third consecutive term that year – a reminder of an era when both sides of politics took an active interest in the arts. By contrast, today’s politicians seem completely devoid … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

David Lynch, Man On Wire, 1998, Archival gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.5cm. Courtesy: the artist © David Lynch

David Lynch

April 11, 2015

For 35 years David Lynch has been an enthusiastic devotee of Transcendental Meditation. “This field within, this field of pure consciousness” he tells curator, José Da Silva, “has qualities and those qualities are: unbounded intelligence, unbounded creativity, unbounded happiness, unbounded love, unbounded energy and unbounded peace. It’s all positive there within – the big treasury!” … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

Deirdre Bean, Image 1: 'Cape Helles', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Image 2: '303 inch British Mk VII', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Courtesy the artist

FROM GALLIPOLI

May 2, 2015

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks: There’s a beach asleep and drear: There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea. There are sunken trampled graves: And a little rotting pier: And winding paths that wind unceasingly. There’s a torn and silent valley: There’s a tiny rivulet With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth. … More

Posted in: Blog

Image courtesy James Compton

Anzac Evolution

April 25, 2015

Looking at Australia in the years before and after the First World War, one feels like asking: “What went wrong?” There was so much happening in those early years of nationhood, so many glorious ideals forged in the war itself, that the post-war years can only be seen as a lost opportunity. Constitutional historian, Helen … More

Posted in: Blog

Luke Sciberras, 'Along the
Gallipoli Peninsula', 2014, oil on board, 60 x 84cm

FROM GALLIPOLI

April 18, 2015

When George Lambert travelled to the battlefields of Gallipoli in February 1919 he found a landscape transformed into “a perfect rabbit warren’, riven with trenches and littered with bones. “The jackals, damn them were chorusing their hate, the bones showed up white even in the faint dawn, and I felt rotten,” he wrote. “The worst … More

Posted in: Blog

Michael Schlieper, 'But What's Behind It?'

Michael Schlieper (1947-2015)

April 18, 2015

Artists with superior technical abilities are often studies in disappointment. When you can paint like an Old Master it is depressing to see the kind of stuff that turns up in Biennales and public collections. Neither can one un-learn abilities that have become second nature. It’s a predicament that breeds fatalism. Michael Schlieper had all … More

Posted in: Blog

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