November 27, 2013

I’m back from my travels full of wonderful memories of people, buildings, water, animals (up close and friendly with the odd elephant), food, wine and of course the thing that drives our desire to explore other worlds: culture. Sometimes it was actual art – the 18th century painted ceiling in my room in Umbria and the 21st century fresco in my hotel in Singapore. Sometimes it was seeing traditional dances recreated by energetic young people in Molyvos and Kandy. Sometimes it was exploring the extraordinary Bronze Age and Hellenic sites in Turkey and Greece. Sometimes it was seeing craftspeople at work – the old man making Kolombi beads in Nafplio and the young woman selling her brooches off an umbrella in Athens. Sometimes it was wading through the puddles to explore Corinth and climbing up the endless stairs to reach the Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya.

Admittedly, some of the explorations I chose to make had art and culture at their heart – the archaeological tour of the Aegean coast of Turkey; the photography tour of Sardinia; the watercolour tour of Greece. But in every town, every moment of every adventure was touched by the art and culture of that community. Yes, I lounged around the odd beach and did a lot of floating in the Mediterranean but each day contained a new vista on the world through the prism of art or design or music or architecture or storytelling.

Why don’t we invest more in Australian arts and culture in order to ensure that our community is rich in colour and movement and sound?