Fairweather Considers How Chinese Ideas Influenced

Fairweather Considers How Chinese Ideas Influenced

Since the Whitechapel exhibition in 1961, paintings by Ian Fairweather have been part of every survey exhibition of Australian artwork. Since Bernard Smith’s 1962 Australian Painting, Fairweather has been a key figure in every analysis of Australian art history. His paintings can found in the National Gallery of Australia as well as all state art galleries and some regional centres. Murray Bail has published a monograph on him, and he has also been the subject in a number of important survey exhibitions.

Claire Roberts’s meticulously researched analysis of Fairweather’s ideas and art reveals that he can’t call an Australian artist. This isn’t because Australia has a bad habit of treating anyone who spends time here as one of its own.

Fairweather was born in Scotland, and raised in Jersey. He first visited Australia in 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s, he built a house on Queensland’s Bribie Island, where he lived until his death in 1974.

Chinese Art And Fairweather

Roberts’ first book on Fairweather, Ian Fairweather A life in letters co-written by John Thompson, provides the background research for the study of the artist’s life, relationships and constant search for meaning. The books that he read throughout his life are also important sources.

This study is unlike any other Fairweather studies. It features her scholarship in Mandarin and contemporary art. Roberts has the unique ability to analyze Fairweather’s work within the context of his unique understanding of Chinese literature, and classical Chinese language.

Roberts’ Mandarin scholarship is highlight in Fairweather’s stunningly illustrate and free translation of The Complete Biography of The Great Master Chi-tien (Jidian), which she analyzes The Drunken Buddha (1965).

She points out that, while this book was praise by many, it best describe as a creative exploration exercise. In her own words, a summative significance to an understanding Fairweather’s artistic practices.

In 1929, Fairweather visited China for the first time. 1936, Japan was about to declare war on China. Fairweather left China for the final time. However, his art was influence by Chinese ideas throughout his life, particularly Taoism, and Buddhism.

A National Artist Is An Artist Who Does Not Belong To Any Nation

Fairweather can best be describe as an independent British wanderer living in the colonial tradition the old Empire. The Art Gallery of South Australia asked Fairweather to name the artist that had most influenced his life. He replied, “a disciple of Turner, which is the most English of 19th-century artists.

His life bears all the scars and marks of the British Empire. He was the ninth child of an Indian Medical Service doctor and was born in Scotland. He was six months old when his parents left India and left the baby with a great-uncle. For the next ten year, he did not see his family. Due to family expectations and duty, he joined the British Army in 1914. However, he was captured by Germany and made a prisoner of war.

He first came across books about Japanese and Chinese art in the library of a PoW Camp. He studied art at Henry Tonks’ Slade after the war and then traveled to Canada, China Bali, Australia, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Fairweather took insane risks in his own safety throughout his entire life, but was always saved through chance. His accident landing on Bribie Island 1948 in his small, shabby sailing boat crashed into it. He did not return to the island until his most notorious misadventure.


This was 1952, when Fairweather tried to sail north-west in a homemade boat from Darwin and got lost at sea. Fairweather’s life is full of details, but Roberts summarizes it in one paragraph. It is not necessary to follow the same paths as before.

She concluded that Fairweather was an artist who didn’t belong to any nation, but walked his own path, searching for the truth. The text weaves together the truth the story of Fairweather, the young man who was caught in an avalanche in Switzerland, feeling at one and the mountains, the sailor wanting the sea to be with him, and the old man living on an island off Queensland’s coast, expose to the elements.

Laurence Binyon’s The Flight of the Dragon, an Essay on the Theory and Practice of Art In China and Japan was one of Fairweather’s favorite books. It is based on Original Sources (1914). Binyon wrote this:

To be an artist, one must see beyond the surface of the world and feel possessed by the great cosmic rhythm of spirit that sets the currents in motion.

Fairweather, I believe, would have considered the idea of claiming his artwork as belonging to any country or style an irrelevance.

Women At The Height Of Their Artistic Power

Women At The Height Of Their Artistic Power

700 years ago, Rumi, a Sufi poet, power wrote such a statement. Nur Shkembi, curator, has used Rumi’s words to frame her selections of art by 16 women artists with cultural backgrounds in Islam. The exhibition is at Bendigo Art Gallery from October through November.

It’s a powerful title. It combines the transformative power of these works, if not the soul, with a reckoning towards a sense wonder and the reality of artist experience. They live in a world that is often resistant, according to Cigdem Aydemir, to their culture.

Spirit And Heart

The entrance to the exhibition is magical. Shireen Taweel’s golden circles are perforated with intricate patterns that create arcs of light. The Australian outback echoes a call to prayer. The room ends with Eugenia Flynn’s poem, a First Nations (Tiwi Larrakia), Muslim woman. It is half lit behind the wall.

Combining art and video can do what only galleries can: It brings down your heartbeat while simultaneously lifting your spirits. Subliminally, the clever staging of the entire show reminds us of the ease of slipping between static artworks, video and music as well as poetry and the space of Islamic sensibility.

Simply put, Islamic art aspires towards bringing us closer to God. It transcends the mundane of daily life and encourages us towards a more pure state of mind. To understand many of the cultural influences from the Middle East or to enjoy their beauty and rhythms, you don’t need to believe in an Islamic God.

Persian Miniatures Power

Think Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, and ghazals, spoken and sung, as well as flourishes of calligraphics, the turquoise and green tiles of Isfahan, and the amazing spaces of the Haggia Sophia, Istanbul. It’s in colours that float in the air at the Newport Mosque in Melbourne.

These traditions are reflect in many of the works found in SOUL Fury. Nusra Latti Qureshi’s “miniatures”, which are precise and bright, is a result of this traditional technique. However, they also contain the stings of colonial (often gendered!) politics.

Shahzia Sikander’s video Singing Suns’ hypnotic rhythms of golden orbs exploding in the air transcend terrestrial humdrum. Bombshell is a Cigdem Aydemir video. Its name comes from Marilyn Monroe’s footage of her wearing a dress that swirls over an air vent. The figure of an ethereally floating young lady is surround by rhythmically billowing clothes. However, her veiling is often equated with oppression or restriction.

Exclusion And Power

SOUL Fury is about culture and the way women experience this religion today. Jessica Bridgfoot, gallery director, says that this exhibition represents a disruption in entrenched power in public cultural spaces. It is understandable that this exhibition was chosen for Bendigo because of its fragile Islamic relations and the recent building of a new Mosque.

The key to this success is that, while visitors are aware of the issues, they will be inspire by the stories and the work. It is about confronting adversity head on, if only with defiance, but with strength and humour, as well as a refined sensibility of greater humanity.

One example the filigree delicacy MehwishIqbal display in his personal refugee accoutrements. Another example is Hoda Afshar’s serious humor: Hoda Afshar photographs women wearing heavy veils and sporting very cool sunglasses. Artists win, people win, and women win.

Their Power At Its Peak

Half of the 16 women included live in Australia and half were born there. Although artists who are or have lived in Bangladesh, Somalia, and Cambodia are include, most are Iranians and Pakistanis. Nearly all of them respond to the entrancing traditions and techniques of art from Iran, including miniature painting and intricate carving, style, content, or all three.

In Western eyes, the image of Pakistani women is one of violence and subjugation. Many of the Pakistani artists, such as Shahzia Sikander or Nusra Latif Quereshi, have their work from institutions in Lahore, and in Karachi, run by women. Formidable artists-teachers-writers Salima Hashmi and Durriya Kazi have nurtured students there who have since gained enormous international reputations.

The majority of artists are in their 30s or 40s, when they are at their peak. And making their opinions and views clear. These artists are not at the fringes of the art industry.

Some of them, such as Sikander and Qureshi, Hadieh Shafie and Shadi Ghadirian and Naiza Khan, were include in major exhibitions and institutions. From the Venice Biennale, the British Museum, and the Queensland Art Gallery’s Asia Pacific Triennial.

These artists are not being neglect, contrary to common belief.

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see how the webs of sympathy weave. Between great works within a particular cultural context. It is a tour-de-force experience that should seen all over the country.

A World Of Pain Australian Theatre In Crisis

A World Of Pain Australian Theatre In Crisis

The ecosystem of Australia’s performing arts theatre industry has been long recognize. It’s a network of artists, arts organizations, and institutions that are all affected by factors like education, training, audiences and policy. It includes commercial organisations, not-for profit, government-subsidised companies, independent grassroots ventures, and amateur groups that produce and tour creative works for audiences locally and nationally.

This ecology was affect by the COVID-19 epidemic. As we move from crisis to recovery and the dust settles on the post-COVID terrain it is likely that we will see a mass exodus amongst the sector’s disillusioned freelance workers. Small companies without the necessary infrastructure are also at risk. Already, the university theatre departments have been decimate. This all paints a grim future.

Over a year, the sector has been asking for additional support. Theatre Network Australia proposes an additional $100 million for the Australia Council over four years and a targeted wage subsidy to workers in the performing arts that continue to suffer from COVID-19.

Theatre in Sydney

Hope is available for the top tier. Theatres in Sydney were given permission to open at 75% capacity due to rapidly rising vaccination rates. This month will see the reopening of big stage musicals Hamilton, and Come from Away. Sydney Theatre Company will be back in November with Julius Caesar. They also plan to stage an international tour of The Picture of Dorian Gray starring Erynjean Norvill with the commercial producers Michael Cassel Group.

The Melbourne theatres are still close until the pathway above the peak of the pandemic has been establish. However, there is hope that theatres will reopen in the next few months. Melbourne Theatre Company just announced that its 2022 season will begin in January qq online.

These companies were able weather the storms in 2020 and 2021. Independent artists and smaller businesses may not have been as fortunate. The resumption or even the possibility of touring is still a far-fetched dream, with state borders still closed and regional vaccination rates lower than in other areas.

Due to COVID funding losses, drama departments at seven universities were either severely or completely cut. These programs’ loss will have devastating consequences for future generations of artists, and educators in the arts. It is possible that the end of the pandemic is near. The theatre sector in Australia is experiencing pain that may not be over.

Caught In The Rip Theatre

In June 2020, the federal government established the COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund. This fund was create three months after COVID shut down theatres and venues. It also halted touring. This caused unemployment or substantially reduced employment for large numbers of freelance workers.

The $50 million fund will remain open through May 2022 in order to provide assistance as a last resort to significant arts organizations at imminent danger of insolvency because of the pandemic.

The fund has just awarded $5 million to the Melbourne Theatre Company as a cash grant. This money is meant to save one of the most important cultural institutions in Australia from collapse. Virginia Lovett (executive director of the company) describe the pandemic as like being caught up in a rip.

Imminent Risk” is a term that evokes urgency. It refers to a clear and immediate danger. This language of pending catastrophe is an interesting metaphor that the government could use, considering the recent changes in Australia’s subventioned performing arts industry.

Labour Government

Federal funding for the arts has fallen in the last three years since the Labour government was elect. Australia is rank 25th in the OECD league table of culture spending per percent of GDP. Australia was 25th out of 34 countries and spent 0.9% of its GDP on culture in 2019. COVID-19 is a new threat to an arts ecosystem that has been in danger for a long period.

Restart Investment to Sustain & Expand (RISE) is the most important component of the government’s COVID-19 intervention for the arts. It is a project-based, $200m competitive grant fund. Up to now, $160million has distribute to a variety of organisations, including those from the metropolitan areas, as well as non-profit and commercial organizations. It also supports touring, festivals, and exhibitions. This is a wider range of recipients than the usual roll call of Australia Council funding.

Support for regional projects and initiatives is a devil in detail. If it isn’t able to quickly leverage return via buoyant ticket sales, then touring funding will be of limited use. Regional vaccination rates will continue to decline for some time.