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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Human faces of Monet's demons

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 09 August 2013
    7 Comments

    Monet, in a period of deep grief and loss, made what was in his career a rare decision: to paint other people. The artist forgot himself in contemplating the faces of his wife and his son, in depicting the faces of death and of incomprehension. We need icons like this — icons of incomprehension, reminders of the fragile self that, behind its virtual armour, is beset by doubt and demons.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Human rights viewed from a Swiss mountaintop

    • Pat Walsh
    • 05 June 2013
    5 Comments

    The weather seemed to express the mood of this city of international public servants paid to resolve the world's problem. Over dinner we discussed health and human rights for remote rural communities in the poorest corners of the world. That's Geneva: clean, ordered, pretty, earnest, and struggling to make the world in its image.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The best and worst of local government

    • Moira Rayner
    • 10 May 2013
    5 Comments

    At its best local government lifts the vision of its people from NIMBY-ism and road maintenance to a sense of community and attachment. But Australians are now so disengaged from politicians state and federal that the timing of Gillard's announcement of a referendum on local government could do more harm than good.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Labor stops short on migration and disability reform

    • Moira Byrne Garton
    • 05 December 2012
    8 Comments

    In 2001, a Pakistani man granted refugee status set himself on fire outside the Australian Parliament House. Visas for his wife and three daughters had been rejected because one daughter had cerebral palsy. While immigration policy has since become less discriminatory towards people experiencing disability, important barriers still remain.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Meeting mortality

    • Anne Elvey
    • 06 November 2012

    This is the wild thing that turns to loam, the seal pup dead on the shore, a fish caught in a crevice of rock when the tide ebbs.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hearing God in Soviet Russia

    • Michael Sariban
    • 23 October 2012
    4 Comments

    When ideology smashed the cathedrals, turned icons into rubble, congregation into crime, religion fell down in a heap, or seemed to ... Most people believed they knew better: countless lips kept doggedly whispering the fine-print headlines of saints. If the State was a rock, religion flowed round it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My life as a Florence tour guide

    • Benedict Coleridge
    • 22 August 2012
    6 Comments

    All is not quite lost. There's still Michelangelo's David in the Academia — that's 'famous' and always makes for a good Facebook album cover. But after queuing for two hours, you feel rather underwhelmed — David isn't the 20m high statue of a ripped male you had been expecting, and there isn't a secret passageway leading from his gluteus maximus to a torture chamber beneath the Vatican.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Robert Hughes, the Australian exile who never left

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 09 August 2012
    3 Comments

    Hughes was part of that movement of Australian artists and intellectuals — Germaine Greer and Clive James among them — who fled to Europe in the 1960s. Yet he was unable to escape the antipodean orbit he found arid and constricting. Australian reference points followed his pen with nagging persistence, a permanent shadowing.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Atheist critic blind to current religious symbols

    • Rod Pattenden
    • 05 October 2011
    12 Comments

    Controversial Fairfax art critic John McDonald is scathing in his assessment of the 60th Blake Prize for Religious Art. His frustrated search for traditional religious symbols in the works reveals a lack of understanding of the role of images within Australia’s living religious imagination.

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  • MEDIA

    The black face of fashion

    • Ellena Savage
    • 24 June 2011
    5 Comments

    Sao Paulo Fashion Week has come under criticism for its absence of non-European models. But the absence of non-white faces is a near universal standard in high fashion. If fashion wishes to be considered a legitimate art form, it must interpret and transform the world it reflects upon.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Muslims who venerate St George

    • William Gourlay
    • 12 April 2011
    6 Comments

    Crowding onto ferries in Istanbul, Turks arrive on the island they call Büyükada early in the morning, Muslim pilgrims en route to a Greek Orthodox church to ask favours of St George. No one is sure when the Muslim practice of venerating St George began, but it is well documented.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Shoulder angels

    • Diane Fahey
    • 14 December 2010
    3 Comments

    The one on the left, wearing crimson tights, promises the world, probes with his pitchfork for hidden desires, sports a prehensile tail able to wrap around your mind ... his counterpart, in snowy alb, meditates on your right shoulder, sending into your soul's bloodstream a thirst for peace ...

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