AdeLOUD Dec2013 / Jan2014
by Cassandra Scalzi
Do you still believe in Santa? I used to. In fact, I used to visit the big man with the long, white beard every year since I turned 21, inform him of my good behaviour and politely tell him, what I wanted for Christmas, until his little helper in the elf outfit announced to me a few years ago, that I was no longer allowed to sit on his lap. Shocking and sad really, how some have to ruin it for others, but on a brighter note, there was a healthy surplus of santas running to raise funds for sick, disadvantaged and special needs children on Sunday the 1st of December, when Variety SA hosted its 5th Santa Fun Run.
This year’s celebrity Santa Team included Sam Jacobs and Nathan van Berlo from the Adelaide Crows (What about Port Power?), the Adelaide Thunderbird girls including Renae Hallinan and Maddy Proud, Brett Maher from the 36ers, various radio personalities and Variety SA Ambassador Les Burdett.
The smooth, Christmas spirited 4 k run which starts and finishes on the lawns in front of the Adelaide Convention Centre, takes you along the riverbank of the Torrens, which is currently experiencing a long overdue revamp, and crosses over on King William Street and again at the weir. Yes, it might be a little weird for a child to witness over 1000 santas all in one spot, or for a grown woman, although much the size of a child, jumping men in red suits (one size fits all apparently) and giving them all big bear hugs, but of course, it could always be worse …
Cockroaches. Giant ones! My biggest fear and something which recently reared its ugly head in a lone public toilet with time controlled, push button opening doors in the usually clean City of Churches. “WARNING DOOR WILL UNLOCK AFTER 10 MINUTES.” But where was the warning about the huge hairy beast of an insect that could have bitten me on the buttocks? Never mind the debate about whether the Adelaide City Council should install state of the art pop up urinals about town; how about keeping our public toilets cleaner to ensure that filthy cockroaches don’t pop up in the loo and potentially bite tourists in the bum and scare the absolute crap out of them so they never come back!
Appalling, that’s all I can say, and that I still shudder at the thought of how close it came! It had wings. I am convinced it was the imported Colombian species of Cockmoth. Or perhaps it was punishment for taking the piss out of the guy who proposed the installation of pop up urinals to be designed by local out-of-work artists, to tackle the city’s wee problem, earlier in Mad May. I am not sure, but I hope the 50th anniversary of the National Railway Museum this month does not include any ghost train rides with ghastly surprises, and the lavatories are clean and bug free for members of the public and SA’s model train collectors and enthusiasts.
No giant cockroaches please! The only things climbing about should be people into the cabs of the giant steam engines, enjoying the historic journey through elegant carriages, experiencing interactive and educational displays and free train rides. Toot, toot! What a hoot hey? Affordable family fun is what the National Railway Museum offers, as does Adelaide generally. And yes, we are home not only to Australia’s biggest lobster and rocking horse, but also to the nation’s largest railway museum with over 100 exhibits representing State, Commonwealth and private railway operators on the three major rail gauges used in Australia.
There’s something steadily alluring about trains and railway stations … but I also just love the sensation of mud and getting all dirty, so I’ve decided I’m going to get muddy to help raise money for MS this month! The MS Mud Run is a mud filled course where competitors navigate obstacles including a barrel filled mud pit, a slippery mud slide, cargo net crawl, a hay bale mountain and much more! Mud runners help to raise much needed funds for people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in South Australia and the Northern Territory. “Getting dirty never felt so good” is the feedback from past participants. Makes sense to me, if you can have fun rolling around in the mud and raising money for a good cause at the same time! Why wouldn’t you?
4km for adults, 2km for Mini Mudders (8 – 12) and 5.6km for elites. What about santas and their little elves? I think the Santa Fun Run and MS Mud Run should merge. Imagine all those snowy white beads turned brown full of mud, what wonderful mayhem that could be had! I would definitely make up for the magic cave’s new policy in the mud pit! I wonder also if Australia’s first lingerie clad football team is going to get on board this cause for next year. Remember, dirt + water = mud, is what the fundraiser’s face book page is kindly reminding people of, and to apply some barrier cream if you have sensitive skin!
Does dirt plus water equal art? Of course it can! Take the classic art form of pottery. It’s not quite dirt, but it’s close enough! And there are a few good mud artists about – Google mud art and you will get Hannah Mud ART – “Hannah Makarovich, from Atlanta, plays with mud. Contact her for commissions, classes and general musings.” Her art is actually very good, her unique crockery and a mystical horned head she has created to wear are quite enchanting. It seems kids are enjoying mud art classes across the country and getting all creative and squishy on Saturday mornings! I must admit though, I can’t find a local artist who works with plain, good, old fashioned mud from the backyard. I’ve come across a community art project with mud victims from East Indonesia, and mud drawings on advertising hoardings in subway trains, but no standard mud, turned into extraordinary art. A real shame, I will keep on searching or have a dabble myself these holidays when I feel like getting down and dirty! Or I could just make myself a really good chocolate mud cake!
Now for a serious art fix in South Australia, Daniel Crooks is definitely worth a look. Put on by the Adelaide Film Festival, his latest exhibition, on until the 20th of December, investigates time and space, focusing on Crooks’ complex and beautiful digital moving images, created through his ongoing Time Slice project which began in 1999. The Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, part of the University of South Australia, situated on North Terrace, is the place to go to see this amazing and mesmerising work, which is strangely poetic and reflective of the everyday world, but with a unique and refreshing vantage point.
Meanwhile, Our Mob, a statewide celebration of regional and remote South Australian Indigenous artists, is an exhibition certainly worth checking out also. This year the exhibition formed part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s 40th Anniversary, which culd be seen in the Festival Theatre Foyer until the 15th of December. Not only is this annual exhibition a means for artists and audiences to engage in and celebrate the rich diversity and vitality of SA’s indigenous art and culture, but it also offers a unique opportunity to purchase affordable, contemporary Australian art. Amanda Radomi is this year’s winner of the inaugural Don Dunstan Foundation Our Mob Emerging Artist Prize. She’s got roots is a particularly captivating piece with a soulful glow which radiates from the canvas.
Still on indigenous art, Big Country at the Art Gallery of South Australia, is showcasing monumental Aboriginal paintings from Australian desert regions, until February 2014 in the Santos Atrium. Indeed we are a big country, so it makes sense that art work reflecting the vastness of this great southern land, rich in desert regions, are big in both scale and meaning. Many indigenous creation stories have of course evolved through painting, from the vast desert regions of northwest South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The works of art selected include new acquisitions, rarely seen works and paintings recently returned from the highly successful national tour of Desert Country. And yes dirt + water = mud, sometimes red mud too!
Realms of Wonder is another exciting and mystical journey to be discovered at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It is the Gallery’s first major exhibition dedicated exclusively to the art of India. It includes over 200 paintings, sculptures, textiles and decorative art objects dating from the 8th century to the present day. Many of the works to be featured are on display for the very first time. In fact, Jain art, (Jainism is one of the three great spiritual traditions of India alongside Hinduism and Islam) has never before been comprehensively exhibited in Australia. The exhibition also includes some of the very first acquisitions of Indian art by the Gallery and is showing now until the 27 January 2014.
2014 is set to be a dynamic and memorable year for visual arts in Adelaide with an exciting international contingent coming to town, with Worlds in Collision, by Adelaide International Curator, Richard Grayson, featuring work from nine international artists shown across four galleries, as well as a not to be missed celebration of Australian art during the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart, curated by Nick Mitzevich. 25 of Australia’s leading contemporary artists will be presented, delivering the very best of their unique visions in various mediums including, painting, sculpture, installation, photography and moving images.
Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale will also make an appearance in Adelaide over the opening weekend and the work of Adelaide based sculptor and installation artist, Julia Robinson will reshape The Studio activity space.
Well, what a crazy year it has been in Adelaide and an absolute pleasure to cover art events, festivals, cheese fests and curious anomalies, amongst other things, in this city I am proud to call home! Happy holidays full of art, culture and hopefully no giant cockroaches … Don’t forget Dunny Day on the December 12 and check out the work of its ambassador, local surrealist artist, Andrew Baines, who captured, Coalition of the Constipated, featuring 12 protesters, including former immigration minister Amanda Vanstone, sitting on dunnies on the beach! It’s a wonderful Australian story, which evolved down at Henley Beach, reflecting the power of people and art. (www.andrewbaines.com)