Tag: faith

I believe in Christ and I go to the Catholic Church, though I’m not a great fan of many aspects of the Catholic Church. I don’t bang on about it, but it’s an important part of my life.

Blake Prize and Sydney Life

I spent the day visiting two of my favourite annual art exhibitions in Sydney “Sydney Life” and “The Blake Prize“. “Sydney Life” is a photographic competition and exhibition held each year in Hyde Park. “The Blake Prize” is a spiritual/religious themed art competition and exhibition held each year at the National Art School. They’re exhibitions I enjoy because they both challenge and entertain.

The Blake Prize, in particular, is a favourite. It began as an art prize for “religious art” in a fairly strictly Christian sense (I think) but has developed over the years to become a more general exploration of spirituality in art. Just about every year I’ve been, there have been a couple of works which I’ve found truly moving.

My favourite this year is a an untitled bust by Tim Silver, though I think it’s the beautiful craftwork involved more than the concept which fascinated me most. Sadly it’s not for sale. Also for the craft, there’s also a wonderful piece where a skeleton has been covered in plasticine and located in the cosmos, with lots of plasticine balls representing planets. And there’s a terrific work by Adam Cullen who has focussed his attention this year on Mary Mackillop.

As for Sydney Life? There’s a lot of terrific works this year, though I wasn’t as impressed as I’ve been in previous years.

The most delightful work is – head and shoulders above the rest – the photograph of the pig at the Royal Easter Show. It’s a great moment in time, it’s well composed, and it has a great sense of fun about it. There’s also a wonderful photograph of a storm front coming over the harbour which is visually spectacular.

My favourite, though, was the image of two Sydney taxi drivers enjoying a meal in the back of a cab at night. I really like it, because it offers an insight into a really significant part of Sydney life (taxi drivers), but also because it’s so beautifully shot, with Henson-like night-time darkness. It’s a warm, lovely shot.

Lieber Gott

Lieber Gott

With all this Copenhagen stuff going on, I thought this was an interesting contribution to the discussion. It’s a song by Frida from ABBA (of course) which is a “prayer” about peace, the environment and everything. Here’s the translation that’s on Youtube. Shout out to … Continue reading Lieber Gott

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Holy Pictures

As a child our house was full of “holy pictures” (as my mum called them). In fact, aside from my sister’s wedding photographs, and my ABBA posters, the only pieces of art that adorned our walls were pieces of Catholic iconography. “The Crucifixion”, “The Last Supper”, “Mary’s Assumption into Heaven”: that kind of thing.

While some Christians really freak out at this kind of iconography – equating it to idol worship, seeing it as something which gets in the way of a relationship with God – it’s something I’m quite happy with. And it’s soemthing I quite like, Last year, for example, when I was travelling around I spent a fair amount of time in both Catholic and Orthodox Churches marvelling at the works.,

And certainly tonight, attending the “Blake Prize” at the National Art School, there were elements of the iconography which I grew up with. The prize started in 1951 as a religious art prize, though more recently it’s become a prize centred around “spirituality, religion and cultural diversity”. As I’ve attended the prize over the last few years it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the works involved. Each year, there appears to be fewer and fewer overtly religious works, though the theme remains.

My favourite work, this year, for example was of a life-sized statue of a black woman holding a loaf of bread. As I walked through the crowded exhibition, I thought at first she was someone who was blocking my way. But then when I realised, I too, found myself firm-footed, unable to move, as I took in the work. Beautiful craft, and wonderful conceptually. Another favourite was a piece called “Ladders” (in its broadest sense it could be a ladder to heaven, to spiritual enlightenment etc). For me it was probably the craft more than the idea which appealed.

I would have taken more notes, except the exhibition opening was incredibly crowded with a surprisingly – and encouragingly – large number of young people. I’ll revisit the exhibition over the weekend to take it in with a greater depth.

And besides, I’m feeling a bit tired tonight. This is my third night in a row where I’ve felt tired, actually. And I can’t decide if it’s because I’m coming down with something – I’ve been sneezing a bit too – or if I’m just feeling tired from working too hard.

So, after spending 45 minutes or so wandering around the exhibition, I’ve grabbed a bite to eat, and have come home to relax.

Over the next few days I’ve got a few things planned including (hopefully) lunch with Yvette tomorrow (though she was sick today), seeing a cabaret show tomorrow night, catching up with The Other Andrew for his birthday, and going with Grant to see “Sounds Like Teen Spirit”, a documentary about the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

In the midst of all this, I have Swedish homework to catch up on, and I’m hoping for a few hours of relaxing on the couch doing nothing much at all.

And hopefully getting back to see those “Holy Pictures” in a less crowded environment.

I was given it at work yesterday and, having gone to work without a tie yesterday, I immediately put it on. That is quite a nice tie, a colleague said, though she recoiled in horror when I told her what it was.


As I walked through the streets of Glebe last night I wondered how many people would recognise my tie. Was I from the CIA or the FBI or was I a member of another unknown unit in Sydney for just a couple of weeks. As … Continue reading Spong

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