THE LADY AND THE UNICORN FRENCH TAPESTRIES

February 12, 2018

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One of the most famous masterpieces of medieval art, “The Lady and the Unicorn”, is now on exclusive display in Australia at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, through a loan from the collection of the Musée de Cluny- Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris. Revered as a French national treasure, this 15th century ‘Mona Lisa of the Middle Ages’ will be in Sydney until 24 June 2018.

Prior to their Sydney exhibition, the six large scale tapestries, together measuring more than 20 metres in length, have only left Paris on two occasions, firstly being displayed New York in 1973-74 then Tokyo and Osaka in 2013.

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The six tapestries, which are woven in wool and silk, are amongst the greatest surviving artworks of their kind. Showing a richly costumed lady flanked by a lion and a unicorn, surrounded by animals, trees and a millefleur (thousand flowers) background, five of the tapestries depict the senses with the sixth representing the heart or understanding. The sense of touch has the lady holding the unicorn’s horn while taste shows her feeding a bird and smell has her holding flowers. Hearing depicts her playing music and in sight she is showing the unicorn his reflection in a mirror. The sixth tapestry with the text ‘Mon seul desir’ (My only desire) depicts the lady emerging from a tent, held open by the lion and the unicorn.

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Maud Page, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Deputy Director and Director of Collections, said “The tapestries are universally revered and are a portal to the past, but the lasting beauty of “The Lady and the Unicorn” is that it retains its mystique and its freshness after centuries, still inspiring awe in viewers today.”

I would recommend that it is well worth making a special visit to Sydney to view this beautiful exhibition              Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond

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TRAVELLING NORTH

February 12, 2018

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Australian playwright, David Williamson’s “Travelling North” is a wonderful start to the Genesian Theatre’s 2018 list of exciting plays.

Directed by Sahn Millington, this delightful play that is both funny and sad, is based on the true story of David Williamson’s own mother-in-law, who found new love in later life. The play also brings up issues faced by many of today’s seniors.

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The two main characters, Frank and Frances, which are believably portrayed by Dave Kirkham and Jane Thorpe, decide to leave their lives and responsibilities in Melbourne behind and head north to tropical Queensland. Their love story encompasses all their family dramas plus highlights the downside of ageing.

Peter Irving Smith is excellent as next door neighbour Freddy, as are Megan Shooter and Lauren Birdsall who play Frances’ selfish daughters, Sophie and Helen.

Although the play is set in the late 1960s, it is very relevant to life today. If certain historical events such as references to the Vietnam War and Gough Whitlam were updated, the play could very easily be set in current time.Genesian Theatre Co - Traveling North 2018 -  Homepix Photography 0136_preview.jpeg

One of the many charms that David Williamson brings to his plays is his ability to make his characters relateable to the audience. One can always recognise some of his characters’ traits as those belonging to someone they know.

“Travelling North” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 24 March 2018. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm. Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, with a 20 minute interval.

Sandra Tiltman


UPDATING YOUR WILL

February 12, 2018

Marriage equality is now law, so with the prospect of increasing numbers of those in love rushing off to the altar, the NSW Trustee & Guardian has issued some timely words of advice about making sure a person’s Will is up to date if their relationship status changes.

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Updating an existing Will is essential when a relationship status changes and should be one of the first things couples consider. Natalie Darcy from NSW Trustee & Guardian said “Legal documents aren’t romantic but updating your Will can be one of the most practical ways to demonstrate how much you care. When you get married, separated or divorced, if you don’t update an existing Will or have one written, it can affect the people you care about. People spend time updating their Facebook relationship status, why not something as important as your Will. Talk to NSW Trustee & Guardian about updating your Will so you can ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes.”

It is important that people seek expert advice when updating or creating a Will to ensure that it is legally valid. www.tag.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 364 103.

Sandra Tiltman


FLICKERFEST SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

January 15, 2018

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Flickerfest, the annual international short film festival that has been wowing audiences for 27 years at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, as well as at venues all round Australia, is currently playing at the Bondi Pavilion until 21 January 2018.

Over 2,500 entries from across the globe were received for this year’s competition, but only 100 have been selected for screening during the Academy Accredited and BAFTA recognized short film competition. The festival includes at least 22 different programmes, featuring short films ranging from animation to documentary and comedy plus other genres.

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The Best of European Union shorts is back, showcasing shorts from the EU in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Australia.

Young filmmakers are also given an opportunity to join in the festival by taking part in SAE FlickerUp, the national schools and youth competition.

Film lovers are sure to enjoy an evening out under the stars at this open air venue, viewing one of the programmes that changes daily.

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When Flickerfest concludes its ten day run at Bondi Beach it will begin a national tour to over fifty cities including Bendigo, Perth, Mackay, Cairns, Hobart and ending in Kalgoorlie on 19 May 2018.

Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond


“VICTORIA & ABDUL” ON BLU-RAY, DVD & DIGITAL

December 19, 2017

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Queen Victoria, perhaps England’s most interesting monarch, lead an extraordinary life throughout her remarkable reign that began at eighteen and ended sixty-three years later, in an era that was constantly changing. Widowed at 42 when her beloved Albert died, Victoria went into deep mourning and at her death, it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire.

An amazing true story has come to light relating to a period in the latter part of Queen Victoria’s life and is now the subject of a delightful film. “Victoria & Abdul” explores the roles of companionship and loyalty in the relationship between Her Majesty and Abdul Karim, a young clerk, who travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and, much to his surprise, finds favour with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that the Queen’s inner circle attempts to destroy.

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As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity. The film is a charming portrayal of one of histories most unlikely friendships and beautifully depicts an unusual bond between two people from opposite worlds.

Directed by Stephen Frears, this emotional film stars the glorious Academy Award® winner Judi Dench and Ali Fazal in the title roles, with excellent performances from Eddie Izzard, Addel Akhtar and Michael Gambon.

Running for 1hr 52 mins, “Victoria & Abdul” is now available on Blu-rayTM, DVD & Digital

Sandra Tiltman


MASTERPIECES FROM THE RIJKSMUSEUM

November 27, 2017

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The first major exhibition of Dutch masters in Sydney, featuring 78 exceptional works of art from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, including a room dedicated to Rembrandt, is on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age showcases Dutch art and life during the 17th century, an era of wealth, power and cultural confidence. Dutch artists only began to depict distinctively Dutch landscapes in the 17th century, inspired by their unique environment with its terrain, windmills and abundant waterways. Scenes of everyday life, especially those set in the home, were incredibly popular during this time, with works portraying feasting and drinking with family and friends, children being cared for and people simply reading or sitting in quiet contemplation. The sea has always been a dominant factor in Dutch history, shaping the country’s life and commerce and during the Golden Age, marine painting emerged as another area in which Dutch painters excelled.

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Landscapes, townscapes, architecture and interior scenes as well as marine scenes were the subjects of many of the era’s paintings. The Dutch Republic gave rise to a huge number of talented painters, but while most specialised in a single genre, such as portraiture, still life or landscape, Rembrandt painted almost everything.

Exhibition curator, Peter Raissis, said Vermeer’s “Woman Reading A Letter” (1663) and one of Rembrandt’s greatest works, “Self-portrait as the Apostle Paul” (1661), are at the heart of Sydney’s exhibition and are viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year in the Rijksmuseum’s famed Gallery of Honour.

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Alongside masterpieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt, where an entire room is dedicated with seven of his paintings and 16 etchings, are outstanding paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, regarded as the greatest landscapist of the Golden Age and Jan Davidsz de Heem, renowned for his dynamic, colourful compositions of flowers and Judith Leyster’s painting of “The Jolly Drinker”.

It was customary for the affluent Dutch middle class to have themselves portrayed in paintings, whereas, in most European countries this was a privilege reserved for nobles and aristocrats. The exhibition’s portraits of merchants, scholars and artists reflect the increasing self-confidence and prosperity of the Golden Age’s society.

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During the exhibition, a variety of educational programs are available for visitors of all ages. The Gallery will host a lecture series featuring local and international experts, late night programs, music, daily guided tours and many other events to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy interactions with the artworks.

The exhibition runs until 18 February 2018.

Words: Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond


BLOODY MURDER

November 10, 2017

The Genesian Theatre’s current production of “Bloody Murder” is a very entertaining combination of comedy and murder mystery. Written by Ed Sala, this play will have the audience guessing “who dunnit” right from the start.

Lady Somerset has invited six guests to her isolated country estate and when one is murdered, just before revealing a dark secret, she refuses to let her party be interrupted, even by the police. The action heightens when the murderer strikes again and the remaining guests come to the realisation that they must work together to find out who is actually making the choice of who will live and who will die.

Directed by Michael Heming, this play is unlike any ordinary murder mystery, as it has the audience laughing right from the first victim. The acting skills of the excellent cast keep the audience on the edge of their seats while they look for clues and try to find answers

“Bloody Murder” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 2 December 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman