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Designer furniture exhibition

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Front Row, L-R: Rolf, Josh, Daniel and teacher Angus Watson.
BY THOMAS McCOY
The work of final-year cabinet making students from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) will be showcased on the top level of the Canberra Centre in April.
Over a dozen pieces will be on show at the annual Furniture Design Display, including the winners of the CIT Awards for Excellence in Furniture Making Craftsmanship.
“What’s on display this year is stunning,” says teacher Des Hill, originally from Dublin. “I’ve been involved in these awards since they began in the early eighties, and every year we ask ourselves what the students can possibly do that will be original and different from what we’ve seen before. And every year they amaze us with their creativity and craftsmanship.”
Students are given just one semester to create an original piece of furniture based on a design brief. Although each piece must contain at least one drawer and a door, and feature several types of joint, students are generally free to build any furniture item they like.
“The most unusual thing we’ve ever had was a ‘coffin table’, which was a coffee table in the shape of a coffin, with a hinged lid and internal draw,” explains teacher Mirsad Ramic. “This year we have a superb selection of pieces ranging from an intricately constructed ladies sewing desk, in the classic tradition, to funky storage cabinets, plus sideboards, cocktail cabinets, entertainment units and low tables. The one thing they have in common is the quality of the workmanship and we’re delighted that people will be able to see these inspiring pieces at the Canberra Centre.”
The CIT Furniture Design Display will be on show at the top level of the Canberra Centre from Monday 2 April, right through Easter, until Sunday 15 April.
For more information on CIT courses in cabinet making, ring the CIT Information Centre on 6207 3166 or visit their website at
cit.act.edu.au.

Alps under water-

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Alps under Water
By Claudia Chaseling
With an intricate painted line work and grid structure Claudia Chaseling’s art captures the rhythm and movement of the natural sources of water and light.
In Alps under water Chaseling’s reputation as a contemporary artist is taken to new heights with a series of works combining industrial landscapes and historical and modern images with water (and light, as in the lead?). The exhibition consists of 12 print media works, three watercolours and one large mixed media on water colour paper. The exhibition’s centrepiece-Alps under water-is in eight parts and measures
220 cm x 480 cm.
“Water represents life and transition,” says Chaseling. “I use it in a cultural sense as a symbol of survival and sustainability, painting its rhythmical dynamic and its layers, depths and reflections. Different perspectives exist near each other in my work and are visible through each other,” says Chaseling whose reputation nationally and internationally is rapidly growing. In 2006 she won two prestigious awards – the Toni and Albrech Kumm Prize and a Samstag Scholarship.
Born in 1973 in Munich, Germany, Chaseling has exhibited in major galleries in her home country and in the United States, Italy, Austria, and Australia. In 2007 she will have two major solo exhibitions, one in the Staedtisches Museum Eisenhuettenstadt and the other in Kunstverein Uelzen.

Ethiopian artist & printmaker

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Falaka Armide Yimer
The unusual works of award winning Ethiopian artist and printmaker Falaka Armide Yimer will be on exhibition for the first time in Canberra at Stephanie Burns Fine Art 27 March to 28 April.
“Drifting in Time” is a rare collection (more than 20 pieces) of a small number of Yimer’s previous works and a larger number of new works representing his changing focus and style. “I used to just tell stories about daily life in Ethiopia,” says Yimer. “Although life in Australia is wonderful and free, I observe here, as I do everywhere I go, that people from my homeland continue to suffer. My focus now is to create Afro-Australian works.”
Woodblock print making, one of the oldest techniques which few perform with Yimer’s precision, is challenging and truly ‘black and white’. “You have to know exactly what you’re cutting,” says Yimer. “You can’t make mistakes. You cut the wood once and go to print. There’s no going back and there’s no time for tomorrow or after tomorrow.”
Yimer, who has more than 30 years experience as an artist, is recognised throughout Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Africa. His work is in the National Museum of African Art (Washington), the National Museum (Addis Ababa), the New York Carbide Building, Edgar A. Lipman (Maryland), Yankil Ginsburg (Washington), the German Cultural Institute (Addis Ababa), and the Ethiopian Embassy (Washington). His important work, “Drifting in Time”, was commissioned by Campbelltown Gallery and Arts Centre.

The Chinese New Year Spectacular

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Chinese Spectacular
By Songfa Liu
The NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular, which showed in Canberra Theatre on March 20 and 21, has completed its Australian tour for 12 shows in 5 cities but the interest in traditional Chinese culture is just beginning.
Produced by the New York based independent Chinese television network, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), the Spectacular combined dance, music and song to present popular myths and legends from ancient Chinese culture including those from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Mr Zhong Lee, president of NTDTV, said China has a 5000 year history and NTDTV’s aim in producing this show was to facilitate a renaissance of traditional Chinese culture through its art forms and folklore.
The interest for such culture is certainly there in Canberra as evident in the two full house shows in Canberra including an extra show added due to popular demand.
Despite the luxuriance of colour and splendid costuming in the dance scenes, the stage setting remained largely minimal with colour and variety provided by clever use of digitally animated backdrops. This was not a big budget operation but the excellent combination of beautiful traditional costumes and scenes, digitally mastered animation, stories that promote honesty, goodness and loyalty, and fascinating dancing has produced a memorable subtle entertainment of tremendous creativity and depth of feeling.
Helen Musa, arts editor of the Canberra Times, said she was captivated by the show and there was something in it for everyone. Ms Musa said you “can’t go past the costuming and dancing in the show” but acknowledged that she found the Buddhist influence in the Spectacular “extremely interesting”.
Ms Musa said she understood that the show touched on many different levels and said for her it had been most effective. “Not just the eyes, not just the ears but on the heart and soul” she said.
However, the Spectacular met disapproval of the communist Chinese government. Its consulate in Sydney advised diplomats and federal and state politicians not to see the show as reported by ABC Lateline. What are they afraid of such a nice traditional culture show?

Mental illness gets a theatrical make-over

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No Island is a Man
In April and May, two plays will be staged at Tuggeranong Arts Centre to raise awareness about the impacts of mental illness.
Would you recognise mental illness in yourself, your family or your friends? If you did, would you know how to help?
There is nothing so debilitating as having no sense of purpose or hope, and although the statistics on mental illness are frightening, often the experience of living with a mental illness is far worse.
April – No Island is a Man will open people’s eyes to what depression is like as an experience, rather than as an illness. The play explores the experience of depression through the main character, Jesse, and the impact his illness has on his friends and family.
May – Imperfectly Sane during Schizophrenia Awareness Week, Canberra Celebrities and Canberra Youth Theatre participants will theatrically represent the true stories of people living with a mental illness, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.
If you require information or support about mental illness for yourself, or someone you may be helping to look after contact the Mental Health Foundation on: 6282 6658 or www.mhf.org.au

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the didgeridoo?

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Playing the Didge!
BY MICHAEL ASHCROFT
Alex Murchison, of Canberra based didgeridoo manufacturers Echo Tree, has spent years tutoring would be aficionados in the finer arts of playing the didgeridoo. He has also taught the somewhat less finer art involved with this instrument, namely getting that termite hollowed wood tube to make any noise at all, never mind a musical note. No student of Alex has failed to achieve this feat and now with the launch of a tutorial DVD entitled “Learn to Play the Didgeridoo” no one ever will.
As the presenter, Alex will take you through the basics required to play the didgeridoo. The DVD will teach you how to play the didgeridoo quickly and easily. The presentation is straight forward and easy to understand, where the sole aim is to get you playing, and to get you playing well.
Alex uses the highly effective Echo Tree didgeridoo tuition method, developed in Australia throughout his years as a professional didgeridoo tutor. This method employs a unique three-step process, built on practical teaching experience, using exercises and techniques that are tried and proven to work. With practice you really can learn how to circular breathe and play the didgeridoo! Surprisingly, it’s really not that hard, and this presentation breaks it down for you into easy to understand steps that will have you playing your didgeridoo in no time!
Once you can play a didgeridoo Alex can help again. With his brother Malcolm he owns and runs a local business called Echo Tree where they handcraft and offer exquisite, authentic, musical quality didgeridoos that are both beautiful and functional to a worldwide market. Their instruments come with a lifetime guarantee, and the indigenous style artwork that is painted onto them is certified as authentic with an authenticity label that provides all the details of the artist who created the artwork. Malcolm, the master craftsman, also provides a ‘custom made’ service, where he is able to craft almost anything that a customer wants.
Alex has also recently gained exclusive rights for the Australia-wide distribution of an innovative new type of didgeridoo that has the potential to take the market by storm. This new product range of very affordable didgeridoos caters for children, travelers and the serious learner. They are made from a polymer and all models will retail for under $100. To find out more about these new modern polymer didgeridoos you can go to www.walkaboutoutback.com
Alex Murchison also provides a service to schools both locally and schools that come on excursion from all around Australia, which both entertains and educates students about the didgeridoo. He calls this branch of the business “Didgeridoos Alive!”, and finds it a great tool to promote the didgeridoo as a musical instrument to a large audience.
Alex is also involved with the community and indigenous organizations on a number of levels, one being that he teaches young people and at risk youth how to make a didgeridoo. Participants are given the opportunity to gain the skills needed to make their own didgeridoo and they get to take the one they made home with them. This program is often followed up with a ‘Learn to Play’ course. Alex also runs the ‘How to Make a Didgeridoo’ programs for the general public and calls them “Didj in a Day”, where course members get to do the whole thing in the one day and take their new didgeridoo home at the end of it!
If you would like to learn how to make or play the didgeridoo or purchase one of the high quality instruments handcrafted by Echo Tree you can go to www.echotree.com.au to find out more, or you can contact Alex on alex@echotree.com.au

Warped and Twisted 2007

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Canberra Spinners & Weavers Inc annual exhibition and sale
The Exhibition features new approaches to old crafts as members show works created during the past year: proficiency in hand spinning and dyeing, felting, knitting, weaving, tapestry, rug making, crochet and allied techniques produce unique articles of the highest quality. Spinners explore the use of fibres such as angora and silk as well as the high quality fleece available from local graziers and breeders including lambs’ wool, alpaca, mohair and fine merino.
Many of the well crafted items on display will be for sale and range from the purely decorative to the practical: wall hangings, rugs, household linen, shawls, foot-friendly socks, hats, bags for all occasions, garments and skeins of colourful yarn. The well-stocked shop carries further delights for all ages and all seasons.
Opening Times 10 am to 4 pm
CSIRO Discovery, Clunies Ross Street, Black Mountain ACT
27-29 April. The venue provides wheelchair access.
If you require further information please contact
Helen on 6295 7313 or email e-mail hrhahamilton@optusnet.com.au

The Jester Ball

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The Jester ball
By Tom Woodward
Send in the clowns, drown in the wine, and dream with the music. Canberra’s very own Bayonet Records invites you to its film-clip Masquerade Ball. To be held at the Albert Hall on the 11th of May, the Jester Ball will be a novel and exotic evening of entertainment. The night will ignite with wild poetry and sultry jazz, the haunting murmur of a twisted string quartet and the sombre sounds of Bayonet Records’ latest album, Blue Day Requiem. Film crews and photographers will mingle amongst the revelry, literally producing the material that will serve as the film-clip for Blue Day Requiem’s first single, Drinking the Dregs.
Like a traditional Masquerade Ball, The Jester Ball will be a festive toast to the spirit of art and a celebration of the imagination. The archetypal jester represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason inside all of us. With a rose in one hand and a bindle in the other, the jester is portrayed innocently striding towards the edge of a cliff. It is with the spirit of this innocence that Bayonet Records invites you to stride from the norm and fall to a fun filled night of glitz glut and glamour.
With The Jesters Bar serving beer, bubbly and wine, decorated bodies and masked faces will collage the hall from 7pm ’till midnight. Tickets can be purchased for $17 from Landspeed, Songland and The Street Theatre from March 15th (they go up to $20 on April Fools Day). So leave your inhibitions at home, bring your imagination with you, and be anyone or any thing you like. For workers, artists, drinkers, hoboes, students, and anyone with the spirit to do something different the, Jester Ball is definitely a night not to be missed.

THE JESTER BALL

WHEN: Friday May 11th
WHERE: Albert Hall, Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla
TICKETS: $17 Available at Songland, Landspeed or through website, from March 15th. $20 from April Fools Day.
WEBSITE: www.thejesterball.com

Twilight Fair great success!

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The annual Torrens Primary School Twilight Fair was held on Saturday 31st March 2007. We were blessed with a fabulous day with blue skies, warm sun and no wind. The fair again proved a popular event with over 700 visitors and kids attending. The fair provides the parents and friends of the school with an opportunity to join together in an action packed fundraising event.

This years popular attractions included: Sideshow Alley, The Fairy Room, the Haunted House and the Crockery Smash. The sausage sizzle and cafe did a roaring trade. The petting zoo, pony rides and giant bouncy castle also proved winners.

Thanks to all helpers and organisers for putting on such a great day!

Export-led growth for Canberra

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Canberra Business Council logo
By Neil Primrose

In Canberra’s now predominantly private sector economy, exports are increasingly driving our growth.

Development of an export culture isn’t surprising, given Canberra’s strong international orientation as Australia’s national capital and the strong and extensive work of the Australian Government internationally in both policy and operational work.

That policy work has included working with the governments of our trading partners to reduce barriers to entry and open their markets to Australian products and services. Since the mid 1980s, this has seen the development of highly successful partnerships between Australian Government and business to grow our national income from overseas trade.

And the contribution of Austrade to the development of local businesses succeeding as exporters in the face tough international competition has been huge.

It’s pleasing the see the ACT Government also engaging in an increasingly effective partnership with local exporters, working alongside them at they move into fresh markets to help overcome official indifference and to open doors into new relationships with customers and business partners.

This kind of partnership between government and business is far more important in overseas markets than many people at home realise. Business people in other countries tend to accord significantly greater respect to the position and stature of visiting government ministers than we’re used to doing in Australia. Hence the significant role that successive ACT Chief Ministers and other political leaders have been able to play in support of local businesses opening up overseas markets.

The present Chief Minister, John Stanhope, was particularly effective in his leadership of the recent ACT Trade Mission to India. He paved the way for numerous introductions to Indian business leaders that would not have happened if the ACT businesses had not had such visible and official support in the person of the Chief Minister. We ought not to underestimate the value of governments working in partnership with local businesses.

The participants on the Trade Mission to India are now busily engaged in following up their contacts and the business leaders are very appreciative of the role the Chief Minister played. Those who are planning to be in the forthcoming trade mission to China need the same support and are looking forward to the Chief Minister working with them as the leader of Team ACT.

The bottom line for the community is that growth in exports from the ACT creates additional jobs in the ACT, as well as bringing new skills into our economy. It ensures our companies operating overseas are operating at world best practice. This high standard flows back to local operations, so increasing competitiveness even of those businesses that are not exporting.

The general increase in business activity also flows back to the community through increased GST returns that go to pay for our facilities and services, such as schools, hospitals, parks and all the other things that are paid for from the ACT Government’s revenues.

So our growing export culture benefits all of us.

On another matter, as foreshadowed in the March article, the Council’s paper on the taxi shambles has been submitted to the ACT Government and is now posted on the Business Council’s website at www.canberrabusinesscouncil.com.au

Dr. Neil Primrose chairs the Action Agenda Co-ordination Group of the Canberra Business Council and its kindred organisations.

ACT Primary School Swimming Carnival

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Victory!
The annual ACT Primary School swimming carnival will take place on Wednesday 4th April from 9am – 3pm at the AIS in Belconnen. This event is the culmination of the school and regional swimming carnivals which have taken place throughout the region in March.

All competitors have to qualify and meet specific qualify times defined by the sports governing body. This event provides insight into the future superstars of the sport.

More information can be gained by contacting your local primary school.

Varekai Show Review

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Vareki, one of nearly 10 continuously travelling shows from the team at Cirque de Soleil, opened in Canberra on March 15th.

Based on the journey of a man who falls into the magical world of Vareki it is both both absurd and extraordinary.

The word varekai means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai.

This production is extraordinary. After a slow start the action warms up with frequent breathtaking performances from an international cast. Crowd favourites include the kids from China and the amazing acrobatic finale.

The show runs until to April 8th 2007 before moving on to Melbourne (opening on April 19th). The circus is located opposite the National Library, Canberra.

Tickets are available from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/varekai/Ticketsclub/Canberra_directions.htm

Yarralumla Uniting Church

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Yarralumla Uniting Church
The annual Yarralumla Uniting Church Winter Arts & Craft Show takes place from Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July 2007. This popular event is once again being held at the Church on Denman Street in Yarralumla in Canberra.

Along with a wide display of oil, water and pastel paintings there are a strong displays of quilt and patchwork pieces.

More details can be found at www.yarrauniting.org.au or by calling 02 6281 2750

Lanyon Garden Festival

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Lanyon garden1
By Paul Webb
Saturday and Sunday
24 and 25 March 2007 10am – 4pm
Lanyon Tharwa Drive, Tharwa, ACT
Entry: $5 Adults $3 Concession $10 Family
Historic Lanyon will be at its best during the 5th Annual
Lanyon Garden Festival. Enjoy a wonderful array of garden
activities including specialist talks tours and demonstrations in the beautiful setting of Lanyon gardens.
With over 40 events, this year’s festival is sure to provide something for all ages. Visitors can join Jean Abbott as she imparts her secrets of making jams and preserves, or Judith Boden-Cummings in an informative demonstration of herbs for medicinal and culinary uses.
Graham Williams demonstrates how to prune your roses and fruit trees and Lyn Fisher uncovers the charming aspects of flower arrangements from the Victorian Period. Discover the ways of drying plants & how to use them with Judy Refshauge.
Specialist talks this year include, Establishing a new garden on rural land; Gardening at Highgrove House; From garden to table a culinary tour of the Lanyon vegetable garden, along with David Johnson’s tree tour.
Graham Williams talks on beekeeping and growing organic vegetables; Phil Spradbery runs an informative session on European Wasps and learn all you can from Geoff Price of the ACT Weeds Office.
Enjoy live music provided by Bunyip’n Bluegum, Tuggeranong Valley Band, and the Cantabile Choir. Children’s activities include badge making, coloring in, flower arranging and vase decoration, egg and spoon races and sack races. A variety of food will be available including lunch at the Lanyon Cafe (bookings required), a sausage sizzle along
with drinks and ice creams. A variety of stall holders will provide an array of garden related products for sale including Uncle Joe’s Chooks, Gray to Green, water recyclers and Environment ACT.
Discover or revisit the restored 1850s homestead and convict
outbuildings. Meet up with celebrity gardeners and visiting plant and garden societies or simply relax under the elm, listening to music played on the lawns and enjoying the atmosphere of the 5th Annual Lanyon Garden Festival.
Lanyon Garden Festival
Saturday 24 Sunday 25 March 2007
Enquiries. Lanyon Tel (02) 6235 5677
Lanyon, Tharwa Drive, Tharwa ACT