Darwin Sightseeing

The last few days have been snippets of experiencing the diversity of what Darwin has on offer.  We have had meals at many different places, including the waterfront. Today was disappointing as many places we had earmarked were either closed on full. But we have a full list to visit next week to compensate.

Lotus – Jane Moore
Hand painted silk – Veronica Priestley

WETLANDS Exhibition

at the Tactile Arts Gallery was our first port of call this morning. Situated next to the NT Museum its current exhibition explores different aspects of NT’s ecologically rich yet vulbnerable wetlands.

Jane Moore paints wildlife around wetlands and other places in Kakadu. Her soft watercolours are evocative and serene. Veronica Priestley’s silk paintings on the other hand, inspired by the wetland flora and landscape are vibrantly colourful.  She is currently engaged in an artistic residency at the territory

Wildlife Park.

Many other artists’ works are on display in this two week exhibition we stumbled on.

The day before we meandered around the NT Museum. There is an extensive section dedicated to the ravages of Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Darwin was decimated. I stepped into the darkened confines of a room in which I could listen to the sound of Tracy in full fury. It was the second time Darwin was destroyed. The first was during WW2 when the city was extensively bombed.  Both of these events have had a profound impact on the city and its inhabitants’ psyche. More about these in a later post.

Tijanpi Grass Toyota

A whole section was devoted to self-curated indigenous art work. The room was dominated by a grass truck. 

Tijanpi Grass Toyota 2005

“We make lots of things at Blackstone – paintings, baskets, manguri [head rings] – it is rich country and it’s sometimes hard work to collect the grasses for making things but it’s what we love doing and what keeps us strong physically and culturally.”

Kantjupayi Benson is one of the senior weavers of around 170 who have formed the group Tjanpi (grass) Weavers. They are based in numerous small communities in the expansive spinifex country which crosses the borders of Western and South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Their central point is the small community of Blackstone, some 400km south west of Alice Springs in Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) lands lush with a wide variety of grasses.

The female-based co-operative was established in 1995 and has since become known for its weavings of imaginative figurative sculptures and colourful baskets made largely from grasses but also raffia and wool and decorated with feathers, seeds and other objects.

Wiritji rockhole – Eubena Nampitjin

Eubena Nampitjin  – Wiritji rockhole 1998

Her paintings display a deep sense of herself as landscape During her lifetime as a traditional healer, she also strived to paint all the rock holes, saltpans, dry lakes, hills and ritual centres that were once part of her bush life. In her paintings she ranged across a vast area of the Great Sandy Desert, filling in the sacred geography of her youth and middle years. She was capable of breathtaking work which went beyond the stereotype of Aboriginal art.

Kity Kutuwulumi Kantilla  – Parlini jilamara (olden time design) 1995

Reflected in her art work are strongly traditional qualities and influences largely unaffected by mission influence. Locally known as Queen Jilamara, she became one of the most successful Australian artists of her generation.  People in a Landscape featured her work in the first group portfolio of Aboriginal prints published in 2000 subsequently touring Europe. After her death in 2003 her international reputation continued to grow. The British Museum holds six prints of her work.

This little fellow sat atop the emergency sign at the Darwin Wharf, valiantly chasing away competitors for this prime site. She had her eyes firmly fixed on our lunch of fish and chips. Much to her chagrin, she did not get to enjoy any. We were too worried that feeding her would result in a Nemo-esque feeding frenzy of “mine, mine, mine!!!”

The weather was quite pleasant along the waterfront. However, further inland, the heat hit. The days have been hovering in the low to mid 30’s the whole time we have been here. Thankfully it is dry season!

Tipperary Marina

We had read about a a seafood restaurant at the Tipperary Marina called Frying Nemo. Interesting name, I thought! The brochures assured us that it was open for meals on a Sunday. However, on our arrival, it was closed for renovations till Wednesday. Like Arnie, we will be back!  The marina itself was small, providing a nice haven of quiet except for some boaties who were cleaning their yachts.

We did a lot of driving around Darwin, orientating ourselves. Much to our delight, having been here for over a week now, we are beginning to recognise landmarks.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace
Racism is a disease in society. We’re all equal. I don’t care what their color is, or religion. Just as long as they’re human beings they’re my buddies. -Mandawuy Yunupingu
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34 thoughts on “Darwin Sightseeing

      1. Tell me about it. How hot is it? Darwin during the wet does not get much hotter temperature wise, but its humidity goes through the roof. People go troppo – literally sometimes

      2. We’ve hit 35 degrees and are heading towards 38, apparently. I don’t know about Northern Australia, but it’s hot for the UK. I had an ultrasound scan today. I couldn’t eat or drink for 5 hours before (YAY! I’ve got a truckload of rocks tucked in my gallbladder). By the time I reached the hospital café after the scan I felt ready to drop from thirst. 😉

      3. Darwin has been hovering around 31 – 34 while we’ve been here. 38 is hot! Every summer in Adelaide we get at least a few days over 40. I don’t envy you having to fast in that heat !! Are they going to blast the rocks or do you need an op ?

      4. Over here they usually whip the GB out, since if you’ve had gallstones you’re likely to make more. It’ll be keyhole surgery, so it’s no big deal, but NO CHEESE! a few weeks ago I made a veggie cheese bake, with cheese, cheese and extra cheese. I spent the whole night lying on my back, afraid to move cos it hurt so much. The next day was as bad. Paul nursed me – made me drink water and cooked up rice and peas which I ate from a teaspoon. Now I’m on a low fat diet, and loving it!

      5. When I had my first attack, about 4 months ago, I was terrified, thinking it was a gall bladder infection. If gall stones are a 9 on the pain ratio, a gall bladder infection must be about 15. I remember several times, trying to get out of bed to go to the loo, and collapsing on the floor, weak from pain, crying, begging Mike to take me to hospital, and him fobbing me off.
        That’s why I’m treating this like a huge joke.

      6. Oh dear, pain is no joke ! I guess you are going by past learnings…. When Dad had his attack and they x-rayed him to see what was happening, they discovered he had inoperable mesothelioma in the base of one of his lungs.. The gallstones became a minor inconvenience then !

      7. I know of several similar cases, but that doesn’t make it any easier. If he’d had pain from gall stones during the early stages of the cancer, I suppose they’d have been able to stall it…

      8. I doubt it. It’s a very aggressive, asbestos related one. And it was in an inoperable site. H was given less than 6 months to live. However, that being said, he survived for almost 20 more years. Miracle healing even the dr could not explain 🙂

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