The guest speaker at the Lowy Institute Lecture and Dinner in October 2013 was Rupert Murdoch AC. The dinner was very well subscribed, the tables filling the Sydney Town Hall. When I arrived at the lobby I was guided to my table which I was pleased to see was situated adjacent to the stage and provided a close and unobstructed view of the lectern in front of the Grand Organ. This was the very place where, no doubt, Mr Murdoch would be speaking. Happily positioned I was soon engaged in interesting conversation with the diners at my table.
There were a number of short speeches and then Mr Murdoch navigated his way among the distinguished company, from his table which was located in the centre of the hall, to the lectern and without ado commenced his lecture.
It attracted my notice, as I drew, to hear a characteristic Australian timbre in the voice of a man who has spent so much of his life in the wider English speaking world. It was an interesting speech, forward looking, which one might expect from a man who has never stood still in an ever changing media world. He showed us an example of state of the art technology, a wrist device that links the wearer with the planet.
A fellow diner at the table took the liberty of passing my sketchbook around the table. Several said they thought I had caught a good likeness and there was general agreement that I should show the drawings to Mr Murdoch.
So encouraged, I wended my way between the tables greeting friends and acquaintances along the way.
I arrived at the top table and leaning over Mr Murdoch’s shoulder I introduced myself and reminded him that he had given me an art award many years ago when he had just bought the Mirror Newspaper in Sydney. He remembered that time. Then, somewhat apprehensively, I showed him the drawings. He registered approval and smiled. “Good”. There were many who wanted his attention, so I retraced my steps to an excellent dessert that was waiting for me at my table.
In my experience it is necessary to observe from life and, using the alchemy of art, put down the image, in this case of one of one of the most significant public figures of our time.