Solstice Celebration – The Light in Winter

Solstice Celebration

On Saturday evening, I head down to Federation Square for yet another great evening organised as a part of The Light in Winter art events. The lanterns reminded me a bit of Light the Night, but this one is more in appreciation for the unity in community and appreciation for art and culture from various cultural groups that now call Melbourne home.

Solstice Celebration

Solstice Celebration

The birth of a new republic, South Sudan (correct me if this was not the actual name) in this year of 2011!

Solstice Celebration

Beautiful dance of peace-loving people of Burma, whose democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi is celebrating her birthday as a free human being for the first time in a decade.

Solstice Celebration

It was a chain of music and dance, taking place on stage, by the fire in the middle and the fore-court of Federation Square, and in between each we followed the flag-waving man dancing to the drums!

Solstice Celebration

At the fore court, the delicate Arabic tunes played by the fire.

Solstice Celebration

Men and women dance in circles, to the music and clapping hands…

Solstice Celebration

I did not push people out of the way to photograph in the front. Instead, not being the official photographer, I stood back and enjoyed the show with everyone else. That was another great event at Federation Square. It is so worth going into city on winter evenings! See the rest of photos on my Facebook page album!

Solstice Celebration – At Fed Square this Saturday evening!

This looks like a beautiful, colourful event in Federation Square this Saturday evening. Get there at 4:30pm and receive a lantern!

For details, see That’s Melbourne website. Here’s the description from the event programme that you can download from The Light in Winter page of Federation Square site.

Solstice Celebration
Saturday 18 June, 5pm – 8pm
Arrive at 4.30pm to get your lantern!

Each year, on the Saturday night closest to the true winter solstice we gather together at Federation Square to celebrate the moment when the days begin to get longer again. The winter solstice can be rightly thought of as the longest night of the year,but more optimistically as the beginning of the journey towards Spring, hope and renewal. That’s how we see it as our everexpanding family comes together to sing, dance, eat and banish
the cold from our souls. It’s an uplifting entertaining night and you are invited to participate, completely free of charge!

A Ghanaian choreographer brings together dancers from multiple continents to create a ‘flame’ dance of global connectedness. A Pacific Islander hot rocks dance follows a Mexican ritual during which a fire-breathin’ bull charges the audience (all in fun!) A Japanese butoh dancer creates a fire dance for her people, to express their grief, the vulnerability of
being human and the ultimate hope for transformation. Sudanese dancers jump for joy, shining the light for their people post referendum. And our founder members from Turkey, Afghanistan, Burma, Kiribati/Tuvalu, Chile and India are with us again.

Get the family together to celebrate the great midwinter. Join us and shine your light on the
Solstice night. It’s a beautiful time to be at the heart of the city. You may discover
a joyous and colourful aspect you never knew existed.

For full Solstice details, visit
fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

When the ashes fall

Foggy, 9am Sun 12 June 2011

I woke up to the thick whiteness on Sunday morning. In Melbourne, we do get those foggy mornings especially during the cooler part of the year. Near the rivers, by the bay, in the valleys, the moisture can reach the saturation point, and given the wood-burning fire place which is still used by many households, pubs and restaurants, foggy morning is not unusual. But it seems that the latest one has more in it than that.

Looking across North-west towards where the airports are, I was pretty sure that planes were not landing or departing there. It was just too thick. But later in the day I heard that it was the result of the latest volcanic activities in Chile in South America. Here’s what I found on the weather report website Weather Zone today:

On Saturday June 4th, a volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain of Chile erupted after
lying dormant for more than 50 years, ejecting huge quantities of ash high into the
atmosphere. The ash plume reached a height of more than 10km above the earth’s surface,
where it was captured by strong upper level winds, which are referred to in meteorology as
‘the jetstream’.

The jetstream can be imagined as a fast-flowing river that encircles the southern
hemisphere. Once the ash plume gets high enough in the atmosphere, it can be caught up
in the jetstream and quickly carried around the southern hemisphere from west to east.

In this case, it only took a week for the ash to be transported from South America, past
South Africa and then over southern Australia. The thickest part of the plume crossed New
Zealand during Sunday, so there does look like being an improvement in conditions for air
travel over Australia in coming days.

Ash can pose a serious danger to jet engines, as was the case when all four seized up on
British Airways Flight 9 over Indonesia in 1982. Examples such as this highlight why
caution is used by the authorities.

– Weatherzone

So there you go. The ashes from the volcano travelled half way around the spinning glove, faster than the glove (over-taking the moving ground thanks to the wind pushing it ahead) and came to us from the west via Africa and western and central southern part of Australia. The news on TV was showing frustrated passengers at airports as their flights were cancelled, towards the end of this Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Like some people I saw on Facebook, many would have opted for ground transportation in the forms of rental car, train, coach, anything else that get them back to home for the start of shorter week on Tuesday morning.

I wasn’t keen on driving through the fog, but since I had an appointment to meet a friend in the city, I drove out. The fog was already clearing, so apart from driving with headlights on for better recognition by other drivers (shocking how many drivers do not know the basic rule of driving in the fog!), it was almost normal, as the sun was coming up and moisture level was quickly dropping. Still, I got to the city early enough to be treated with a city with different outfit. Continue reading “When the ashes fall”

Is it another great winter exhibition? NGV Vienna: Art & Design

Vienna: Art & Design (image from NGV website)

For the past few years since I started visiting National Gallery of Victoria with more serious intention of experiencing art, they have impressed with every winter exhibition. There was the European Masters, The Impressionists, Dali and Picasso. The quality of work displayed are amazing and it is always a great learning experience.

According to the member newsletter email, before the exhibition opens to the public on Saturday the 18th of June, there will be a member-exclusive ‘preview’ opening on the 17th. For $18 admission for a member, this will be a great opportunity to take your time to admire the works without being pushed around by all these tourists, student groups and other art lovers. Though it is probably slightly easier, those member preview days are very popular among NGV members, so avoid the peak hour and go the first thing in the morning if it is possible for you. I may make it in the evening, but I’ll see how I go. If you do go and see me there, please don’t be shy and say hello!

For the members, there will be a couple of ‘member free day’, two of them during the duration of exhibition as usual. Currently they seem to be listed as 28 August and 16 September. But keep checking the exhibition programme on NGV site, as the dates and times may change.

Enjoy great pieces of art and use the inspiration in our own creative work 🙂