Australia has sent its largest and most ambitious expedition, comprising 60 scientists, to Antarctica over Christmas to follow up the scientific work done by Sir Douglas Mawson one hundred years ago. The measurements that Mawson collected are perceived as being vital as part of the charting of global warming.
The necessary ground work currently being done, combined with the vast quantity of Mawson data, is necessary to build computer models.
The Russian research vessel Akademik Skokalsky, commissioned to convey the scientists, became trapped in the heavy pack ice on Christmas day. There were concerns that a Chinese ice breaker Xue Long in an heroic attempt to reach the stricken vessel was also trapped in the ice. The Chinese ship’s helicopter transferred the group of scientists from the Akademic Shokasky to ice near the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis. The Aurora suspended the resupply of Casey Station to rescue the 52 passengers from the Russian ship.
On one of the occasions when I was exhibiting with Kym Bonython in Adelaide and staying with my great aunt Paquita, who was the widow of the great explorer, she recalled that Mawson had told her. “Down South you attend to every detail but predict the unexpected.” Lady Mawson had to wait anxiously for news from Antarctica unlike the more fortunate connected families of today’s scientists. The rescue mission has been a success. We all hope that this drama resolves itself quickly and that all the icebreaker mariners and scientists from the countries involved come home safely.
We are reminded that a century after the Mawson expedition and the associated tragic loss of life, the ice continent remains hazardous in the extreme.
It appears that leopard seals have shrunk in size over the intervening century possibly because of environmental change. There is so much we need to know on their behalf and our own.
I see the seals and penguins diving on the edge of the ice floes, oblivious in their natural environment to the dramatic events that have unfolded nearby.
We of Wy all love drawing and find great pleasure in capturing the random way in which the forest of Wy rearranges itself to provide pleasing new vistas.
Our unique copse of hybrid walking tree ferns is a great joy.
Real is real – Wy is Wy.
Occasionally flights of fantasy cause members of the Serene Family to wistfully imagine the joy of riding a bicycle up some sort of AccessWy to the wider world.
All at the Principality of Wy, this year celebrating our first Decade of Secession, send best wishes to our friends and supporters around the world, which, from our correspondence, is pretty well everyone.
On New Years Eve the fireworks over Sydney Harbour were again magnificent and Sydneysiders of all ages lined the foreshores to party into the New Year.
This year, for the first time fireworks were sent skywards from the iconic Sydney Opera House. On the television at Wy we viewed with great delight the vivid displays in other cities. With the refinement of pyrotechnics in colour and shape fireworks are rapidly becoming an awesome art form. It may not be far distant when we see The Mona Lisa recreated in a dramatic fireworks display.
There is no doubt that the painting “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso had a profound impact on the world’s perception of the horror of war. Is there a role in 2014 and beyond, for artists in drawing attention to what appears to be a truly global crisis, the ongoing warming of the planet?
Young artists from cold countries like Russia that has a great artistic tradition and bold new world Canada are aware of extremes of climate as are sun baked tropical countries like Brazil. The art of every country is the mirror that each of us shines on one another. Images from spacecraft of our world are the sum total of that beauty.
Art speaks all languages. May your painting, above all, bring you happiness.
Venturing into the “Bay of The World” on New Years Day, Paul painted Peggy’s Point from the Serene Sloop Wy. Art is always a serene occupation even on a rolling boat , yet it is just something we quietly do for ourselves that afterwards others may share.
We of Wy wish you well for 2014
Alan Somerville, Sculptor: “The Bella Figura”
When you cross the Anzac Bridge in Sydney from the Southern end you are aware of two, above life size, bronze figures of soldiers. One, an Australian, the other, a New Zealander. They stand valiant, in all weathers, a moving tribute to manhood and heroism. Alan Somerville who sculpted these works recently held an exhibition of his latest work at the Walter Burley Griffin designed Willoughby Incinerator Art Space, itself a work of sculpture.
This exhibition by a master of anatomy and fluidity in form was all action. Nothing here is at rest. The charging bull, the rapturous dancers, Horses are the very essence of horse. Lovers melt in each other’s arms. The works in the round are framed by a lively collection of animated drawings.
Here is a master sculptor who is part of that golden thread of figurative sculpture that includes Rodin, Degas and our own George Lambert. I have long admired the work of an inherently modest man who works incredibly hard to create a seemingly effortless result. It was my privilege to open this exhibition and share the occasion with his many admirers on Saturday the 3rd of August 2013.