Tag: Art

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, oh Yerevan. What can I say that does you justice? The first thing one notices is the water fountains! Fountains are absolutely every where. Drinking fountains and coffee dispensers on nearly every corner! Large leafy trees provide one with the necessary shade. Yerevan was hot, stinking, boiling hot. Most days it was forty degrees, in the shade!! I had so many plans, but running around in this heat was just not practical! Instead I found a lovely cafe with very friendly staff, and cold, cheap beer! It became my favourite watering hole!

The museum was fantastic. Informative and well set out. It was a tad confusing that they had the national art gallery on the second floor and you needed to buy extra tickets! I saw the works of Minas Avetisyan, an Armenian artist, who died quite young, at age of forty seven in a car crash. His works are vibrant, colourful and stunningly beautiful.

I did a tour of three of the major attractions. Khor Virap, which has Mount Ararat as a back drop. However, it is unusual to see the mountain in the summer time due to the haze. I was fortunate that the fog lifted for about ten minutes and I could see the impressive mountain. The mountain, as the myth has it, was the landing place of Noah’s arc. It was from this mountain that he send the doves to see if the water had diminished. The mountain has always been part of Armenia, and is regarded as a Holy site. Now, however, it belongs to Turkey, which is an on going dispute between the two countries. Needless to say they are not friends.

Khor Virap was build in IV till XVIII, I was disappointed there were no frescoes of importance. When I saw the Armenian churches in the Armenian quarters of Isfahan, Iran, my expectations were set too high! After KHor Virap, my crazy taxi driver, Artur, drove me to Etchmiadzin, the Hripsime church, which was build in 618. (I was suppose to see the cathedral, to this day I am not sure if this church was the cathedral or not! ) Not having a Lonely Planet is a problem at times. I realise how much I rely on the information in the guide book!

Last but certainly not least, we visited Zvartnots. The first cathedral in Armenia, if I am correct. The remains of St Gregory are buried here, or was it St George?? So many Saints, such a small brain to retain all the information given to me! If I had been smart I could have written down the main points of interest!

There is so much to see and do here, it comes down to having the energy and the money. One can do tours, with groups, but only on certain days is one able to visit certain sites. I took a private taxi, which is a tad more expensive, but gives those young people an income as well. Plus it is a lot more fun when one cannot speak a communal language and you need hands, feet and facial expressions to communicate ! We laughed so much. Artur was thirty seven years old and had a seven year old daughter and five year old son. He was keen to show photos of his lovely family, just a shame he was driving while doing so!!

Garni was another fascinating place.i believe it is the oldest pre Christian site in Armenia, it dates from the 8th century BC. The Temple of the god Mihr was beautifully restored. There were ruins of the palace and the King’s bathroom, which had Roman mosaic floors. It threatened to rain all day, and it was extremely overcast. The previous night it had rained profusely, resulting in a rockslide, which closed off the road to Geghard! I had paid Artur to visit both sites, but as this was an act of God, neither of us could help this. We did have an interesting intermezzo with a trail of police cars behind us, sirens blaring, lights flashing, Artur was not disturbed by any of it!

When we were stopped by the police, who had blocked the road, Artur told me it was the president, with his entourage, visiting the rock slide site! Hm! It could have been! I choose to believe him!

I visited the impressive Genocide Museum and monument. Deeply disturbing tribute to the genocide of 1915-1922 , when an enormous part of the population was murdered by the Ottoman Empire. I cried. How anybody can kill small children and innocent babies if beyond my human understanding. ( and still goes on today!) I met a lovely woman from England, Glynis, ( who was also crying ) and we ended up spending the day together, and shared a meal at the end of it. I don’t often eat out, mainly because it is a boring thing to do on my own, and the breakfast at the Bonjour Guest house is so incredibly huge, that I am often not really hungry for the rest of the day. We ended up going back to the museum, and again to see the art of Minas Avetisyan.

Last but certainly not least, was Cafesjian, Center for the arts. An amazing place where I spend nearly a whole day! The main galleries were closed, only open from Friday till Sunday, I happened to be there on a Thursday! Shame! Didn’t have the energy to go back a second time! A sculpture garden and show casing European artist, in a display that changes every couple of weeks.

Glynis was going to Dilijan the next day, and asked if I wanted to come. I had to organise this with the guest house, as I had booked and wasn’t sure if I could change the dates!

So the next day I travelled to Dilijan, high in the mountains, where it would be lovely and cool! Of course it was Murphy’s Law, that the cool change came the night before I left! Go and figure!

Beautiful Batumi

At first before I start writing, I need to apologise to Batumi! My first reaction was, ah, tourist action town, Surfers Paradise in Georgia! However, when I went in to town to have lunch with my friend Ozkan, from Turkey, I did some sight seeing! Some of the architecture is just absolutely amazing! Let me just put in the photos and write a discription of the best ones! The photo above is taken from the Ferris wheel, which is at my back, looking towards the Alphabetic Tower. It has the 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet. It is a 135- meter- high structure and it resembles a DNA molecule. The old light house is on the left.

Piazza Square, is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Batumi! Live music is played here daily and the square usually hosts concerts of world famous musicians visiting Batumi. The architecture of Batumi Piazza is distinguished by mosaic and stain glass art. There was only one old man playing when I was there, but he was lovely to listen to! Although in theory, he wasn’t actually in the square!

The Neptune Fountain with the Chavchavadze Batumi State Drame Theatre in the background. The theatre was opened in 1952. The Neptune a Fountain was established in 2010 and is a copy of the Giambologna’s fountain in Bologna, Italy.

Armenian Apostolic Church built in 1885, under the supervision of the Austrian architect Manfred. The church did not function during the Soviet period, it did re -open in 1992.

There are so many more buildings I could write about, but what blew my mind away was the amazing moving sculpture, Ali and Nino.

this 8 meters high sculpture is a symbol of eternal love and understanding amongst the people of different nationalities.

The statue is created by the Georgian sculptor and painter Tamar Kvesitadze and installed in 2010. It moves very, very slowly and then the two become one, only to move slowly away from each other again! It was mesmerising! I regret not taking a video, but it moves so incredibly slow, and I have so little storage on my gadget, that I declined!

I had a lovely lunch with my dear friend Ozkan, and I promise that the next blob will be about Georgian food! I have been eating mainly fruit, as the heat and the high humidity have killed my appetite! Hallelujah! I could be so lucky! I am sure I have lost weight, as I am eating little, drinking lots of water and walking a minimum of five kilometres a day, most of the time, much, much more! Now the rains are here, it is cooler and I relish the starchy food of Georgia! This blob is a tad long, and I could write much, much more! I will save it for another rainy day!

 

 

 

Terrific Tbilisi

Amidst the most impressive lightening show I arrived in Georgia. The landing, in a lightweight plane, was frightening to say the least! The heavy rain, the enormous thunderstorm, should have prepared me for an intensely, emotional encounter with Tbilisi, Georgia! There is nothing subtle about this place!

Tubilisi is heaven on earth, for artists and creative people alike.The narrow alley ways make for ideal photo opportunities! Every nook and cranny is filled with sculptures, murals or quirky gardens. Garden benches galore! Huge green, leafy trees, intensely green, giving the necessary shade and creating the feeling of secret hideaways, ideal for romantic couples or illegitimate affairs! I have fallen in love with place!

I found my spiritual place in the world! I always felt that way about Florence, but here it is the contemporary artists that make feel like painting, I cried in front of the works of this amazing artist!
At the Zurab Tsereteli Museum of modern art, I saw for the first time in my life, the works of Zurab, and of my most favourite artist of all time, Natela Iankoshvili, a spiritual heir to Pisosmani! This year marks her 100th anniversary of her birth. I cried in front of her work! This only happened twice before! At the Tate gallery, when I saw Munch’s painting of his sick sister, and at van Gogh’s sunflowers! Oh, and at the Jewish bride of Rembrandt! I wasn’t aware that these amazingly bold, strong and powerful paintings were painted by a woman!

I walked around for over three hours, crying, speechless and in total and complete AWE!! I want to be here, live here, and never, ever leave! To imagine, that I am in Georgia by pure “fluke”! I carried a photograph with me, which has no indication where it was taken. I made the assumption that it was in Uzbekistan, where people told me over and over again, no, that is Tbilisi in Georgia! I didn’t hesitate to change my travel plans once again! How glad I am I did! How wonderful is this serendipity in my life! I am here just by pure “fluke” if there is such a thing!

After my wanderings through the gallery, I entered the bookstore and without even hesitating, nor trying to work out HOW much these books were, I bought two books, heavy as, on these two Georgian artists! Google them! Zurab Tsereteli and Natela Iankoshvili! What a talent! How bold and strong they both are! I was fortunate enough to be allowed to take photographs. Although my camera broke yesterday, I have to use the i pad now, but to be allowed to take photos of these wonderful images was such a blessing! I want to paint! This is the same ineke who decided three months ago to give up painting altogether! Okay, so I am allowed to change my mind! It is the privilege of being a woman and an artist, that I can chop and change as pleases me!

Blessed, I feel incredibly blessed, what a country! What a town, what a talent and joy. In case you didn’t realise it as yet! I feel I have come home! I will now have to organise to send some goods home, as these two catalogues weigh a ton! I will also go and look for an art shop! May be I will start painting here! I am seriously considering renting a room, outside a hostel, so I can paint NOW! Here I am, in the coffee shop, drinking a wonderful coffee, looking at my wonderful books, and realising I am in absolute heaven. This is a place for wandering, exploring and being in the here and now. What a town, what a wonderful, wonderful town!

“Nuked” Nukus

Nukus is the strangest town I have ever been to! My hotel, Jipek Joli ( Silk Road)was right in the ” centre”! The street was full of apartment buildings and shops, BUT ……..they were ALL EMPTY!The whole ” centre” of town looked, well, just “nuked”!

The good news was that the hotel was right next to the biggest and best art gallery in Uzbekistan. Nukus is in the former republic of Karakalpakstan. The desert area with the famous Aral Sea. Of which I will write more in a minute. The Savitsky art gallery is a very pleasant surprise to find in such a desolate place. There is, of course a story attached to it. Let me put the info of the Lonely Planet in my own words. The Savitsky owns more than 90.000 artefacts and pieces of art- including more than 15.000 paintings- which are not all displayed , by the way. Most of the paintings came here during the Soviet times by the artist Igor Savitski, who wanted to preserve the avant garde art scene. The Russians were known to destroy any kind of art works they didn’t like!

I, for one, am glad he choose to preserve some of the most amazing works in the history of Uzbekistani Art. Nukus is literally the last place one would look for such a collection, and the Russians didn’t bother either. In the mean time dear Savitsky ( I wish his name was Smith!) saved a whole generation of contemporary art. One can also visit the store rooms, if one pays for it.

When I arrived it was in the high thirties. Luckily I didn’t have to walk too far. After my first three overwhelming hours in the museum, I was in need of a beverage. Across the road was a coffee shop, which was the only shop which had something in it! The coffee was delicious, and the enormous piece of cake serviced as dinner! All this for a A$1,50! My last piece of cake I promise! No more! Did I mention I get chocolate cake for breakfast every morning?? What a country! Shame that due to my knee and then my ankle, I can not walk the way I am used to and want! Also I might have mentioned the uneven footpaths and roads, that make a good strong walk rather impossible.
So what I am trying to say in a round abound way, is that this chocolate cake goes straight to my broad and cushioned hips!

The second day in Nukus, looked like the Armageddon had arrived. Dust storm, with very salty tasting fine dust, howled through the empty streets. I went back to the museum and spend another four hours, just wandering and enjoying. I was in heaven. Great art, solo, and after telling the staff to take their loud mobile calls outside, in silence! I wandered, sat, dreamt and was in a state of pure Bliss! The entry to the museum was not cheap. A$10 and if I wanted to take photos I had to pay another A$ 35!! This to me was not necessary, thinking I will buy some post cards of my favourite art, or a catalogue! The catalogue however was also the same price as the photo permit, and in the whole shop I managed to buy two postcards! This area could be improved strongly!

As I walked back into the horrific Armageddon atmosphere, I decided to return to the hostel. When I arrived back I realised that there was a museum just next door. It was a small museum, celebrating the life of the first woman, who performed on stage! Ayimxan Shamuratov, was a lovely woman, who was married to a play writer, Amet. They had seven children together. When her husband didn’t return from the Second World War, she had to make a living and she took to the stage. She saved up her money to support the Soviet war efforts, and managed to save enough for a war plane! Why any woman would support a war effort is beyond me, but it takes all sorts, I am sure! The museum was minuscule, walking in these horrid conditions impossible, so back to my room, to read, draw and watch kittens on you tube! Bliss in other words!

On my last day in Nukus, I had planned to visit the four musea mentioned on my maps app! Well, for some reason or other, I ended up at the presidential palace! Before I could knock on the door to see if he was at home, this soldier in a state of panic came running up! Thank god, no guns! Apparently one cannot , and must not knock on the White House doors! I wonder if one could do this in Washington DC? G’day Don, saw the lights on thought I hop in for a beer! Hm! The mind boggles!

After three hours of walking I gave up, found the directions to the archeological museum. According to my gadget, I was there!! The staff, Russian only, called the professor who spoke English! As he lived just around the corner, he came over, took me to the one room of restored artefacts, and explained all. The set up is paid for by the Sydney University on the initiative of an Australian professor! I was grateful for the opportunity to see it all, but to call this one room a museum, is way over the top! Nukus is one of the strangest places I have ever been to! I don’t think I will be back in a hurry!

Wandering woman

Time is flying so fast! It is hard to keep up. It is my last day in Shiraz, and I still have so much to do! Firstly going through the small alley ways of the old city, just around the corner of my hotel, Niayesh, is a contemporary art gallery. I had a hard time finding the place, but what a gem! The Lonely Planet glosses over the extend of this contemporary art collection. The gallery was set up by Hassan Meshkinfam. Who studied under Kamal al-Molk, the famous Iranian painter. I was fortunate enough to meet Hassan, and having a good chat about art, Iran and the importance of preserving the history of art and artists. Altogether it was two hours later before I walked out.

There were no taxies parked at the hostel, so I caught one in the street, the driver asked for 80 , when will I learn to classify toman or rials? One lives and learns. It was about five kilometres to the tomb of Hafez. We chatted most of e way, although he didn’t speak very good English, it was still better than my Farsi. When we arrived he asked for 800 rials! That is about twenty Aussie dollars! ( the fare is about three bucks) sometimes in situations like this, all one can do is laugh. Did I laugh! I laughed so much that tears ran over my face! I had to hold my belly, it was cramping! A nearby policeman came over to check what was going on. He spoke a smithering of English, I told him that the taxi driver was the funniest man I had ever met. In the mean time the taxi drive laughed sheepishly with me.

When the policeman stuck his head in to ask what was going on, the driver quickly wrote down 300 rial to show the cop. I decided to solve the problem in typical Libyan fashion. I split the amount in the middle, told him the extra hundred I was giving him, was due to my generosity and it being No Ruz.( new year) I could still here him lament while walking away! This is the second time somebody has tried to rip me off, both taxi drivers! Mind you I have since heard that the taxi drivers are worse in Tehran, which was not my experience at all.

The tomb of Hafez, is a monument to the great poet Hafez. It was packed with people, due to the new year. I met a group of English students, chatted for a while, spend time taking the compulsory selfies, and went back into town. I had not yet visited the Parsi museum, nor the Valik hamman, both high on my list. The taxi tried to negotiate double the price, what is it with these drivers here in Shiraz? I gave him the right fare, wished him a happy new year and went to find the museum. On the way I met a family, with their eighteen year old son.who spoke five languages fluently. His English was just excellent. His parents wanted him to ” guide” me through the gardens,we walked around ( it was very small) I send him back to his parents and I entered the small but exquisite museum.

Next on the list was a visit to the hamman, this one is restored, filled with life sized figures, mainly men, in different stages of bathing. I just love it. Again the place was packed, again I met English students and again hundreds of boring selfies. I survived this ordeal as per usual, and my Instagram followers are climbing in numbers! To treat myself I had a delicious coffee with an even more delicious cheesecake. I sat in the square, just watching the world go by, when a young artist appeared and started to work on the tree cosies, again for the new year! After a long period of time, draining the last drops of my saffron tea, I went to the Bazar.

I love wandering, I love exploring unvisited places. I love bazaars most of all. Just looking at the range of goods to sell. Especially in an age old caravanserai. Knowing that hundreds of years ago people were already here selling their goods. I like the way people hustle and bustle , going on with their daily tasks. Here is me, timeless in a timeless place. Every where I look there is a still life, waiting to be painted. I love to sit somewhere, just watching, listening and smelling this wonderful world, which I am allowed to experience. Going to Yazd soon.

Very VIP

Time is flying! This country is just so amazing! On Tuesday, my young friend Shabnam, came to pick me up. What an adventures we had! First we took the metro! Wow! I mean, I live in a town where we have three traffic lights and 15,000 people! The metro has special carriages for women, which was lovely. We went to this palace first, but the coffee shop and the palace were both closed. ( the palace for renovations)  but we were allowed to walk in the amazing garden! Which would be even more amazing in about two weeks time! Spring is in the air, it is lovely during the day. Very pleasant for walking.

Well what to do next? Ah, we are near the museum and library, let’s go there! Good plan! Except minor little detail, there had been an ISIS attack just a few weeks back, and now one has to apply TWO weeks before! The museum has the biggest collection of  Kamal Ol-Molk, one of the greatest Iranian painters. Well, having Shabnam with me proved really helpful, we were invited to have lunch in the staff canteen, where we had a fabulous home cooked lunch, dirt cheap.

Two hours later, we caught the bus! Shabnam had bought me the most delicious smoothie ever, with pistachio nuts on top! Oops! I had two back teeth removed this year, and l and behold I cannot eat nuts any more, bummer! So here I am standing on the bus, hanging on for dear life, hand on pole, other one on smoothie, Shabnam whispered that my scarf had fallen down! Okay, now what!? I only have two hands!! She was so incredibly sweet.  Gently she pulled my scarf up!

Finally we arrived at her beautiful where I met her gorgeous sister, Shiva, and her lovely mum. Shabnam is an incredibly gifted water colourist, and after a magnificent diner which could have fed an army, we looked through her works, before I was dropped off at my hostel again! What an amazing day! Overwhelmingly friendly people, the way three men put their job on the line to accommodate a complete stranger,  the hospitality of Shabnam’s family, I want you all to know that I appreciated every effort you all took today! It was just magic! A big heartfelt THANK YOU!

Curdnatta Art Gallery February 2017

My work will be hanging in Curdnatta Gallery in Port Augusta for the month of February, so be sure to pop in and have a look.

Current Exhibition at The Barn, McClaren Vale

Exhibition ‘In Shadow of the Clouds’, is currently hanging at:

The Barn,
252 Main Rd,
McLaren Vale SA 5171

Drop by and have a gander, while you sample some of South Australia’s finest Restaurant.

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