Stranger In A Strange Land

Rays of light, symbolically represented as hor...

Rays of light, symbolically represented as horns on the head of Moses (Michelangelo), can be a graphic symbol of Wisdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?”

What is it like for me to be a stranger in a strange land?

The first thing I notice and enjoy in a new place, a totally new place, not just a new town, is the light. Australia has a particular light, bright and full or air. Europe is a softer light and South East Asia has a light filtered by the high humidity except for that glorious hour late in the afternoon after the rain.

Then I notice the different buildings. It’s not just the architecture but the street advertising and furniture. To my eye the buildings in Australia are fairly monotonous. They were built by a first world country in the last hundred years and we have very little that is noticeably Australian. It’s only when you start going north up the coast of Queensland and you run into the classic Queenslander lifted high off the ground, girdled by wide overhanging verandahs and shuttered windows and doors. These aren’t storm shutters, they are built to shut out the world while letting the cool night air into the house.

My first trip to Europe was such a shock. I’d come from Sydney via a day in Bangkok where of course the architecture is anything but Australian – even the shopping centre architecture is totally different in Bangkok let alone all the other buildings, though I have to say our inexpensive hotel close to the airport could have been almost anywhere in the world – standard multi-storey concrete construction.

Continue reading

Drawn To Art


Pieta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “Is there a painting or sculpture you’re drawn to? What does it say to you? Describe the experience. (Or, if art doesn’t speak to you, tell us why.)”

I feel that everyone is drawn to art of some type. If you don’t think you are then you just haven’t found your sort of art. Of course I have a broad definition of what art is. I include theatre, opera, ballet, modern dance, musical theatre, film and television, street art and photography. If we narrow the definition down to painting or sculpture then it might be possible that there exists someone who isn’t attracted to any of it. I doubt it, but it might be possible.

I’m drawn to a piece of art for many reasons. I just wrote a post about my depression and Zematas suggested a number of images. I was immediately drawn to a Van Gogh painting “At Eternity’s Gate”. Not only was it so obviously a Van Gogh but the tone of the painting matched the tone of the post and the image seemed to me to echo my depression. The painting spoke to me. That’s why you see it at the top of the post.

I’ve also been drawn to a piece of art for other reasons. At the Vatican I was drawn to Michelangelo’s Pieta for it’s beauty and the magnificence of the execution. At Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art I was drawn to the works of Anish Kapoor because of the way his sculptures played with my sense of sight and made me question reality.

Then there is the art that seems to speak to my soul. The Van Gogh was like that, the moment I saw it I thought that it had been painted to reflect back to me what is inside me and to tell me the painter knew what it was like.

If you haven’t found art that speaks to you then I beseech you to get yourself to a great art gallery, open your mind and your soul and explore. Don’t buy a book, don’t take a tour and don’t get one of those audio guides. Just walk and look at the art with your own taste, your own prejudices and your own desire and I’m sure something will suddenly ring inside you and you’ll have found art that speaks to you.