Another week in Canberra

I really do love Canberra. My children are the third generation to be born in this place and the fourth to call this place their home, and there is something special about that, isn’t there.

Canberra is a place where I can take a short drive and see the place where my grandfather spent his first few years in Australia with fellow immigrants (Blue Range), the suburb of my grandparent’s first home (Uriarra) and the crossing which my grandfather built and had named after him (Padovan’s crossing).  In terms of our Australian history my family is much more connected to this branch, the Italian side, it’s history is more tangible, more present to us.

Somehow, for some reason, it’s important to know the where, what, who and how of one’s ancestors.  It’s important to know that my Great-Grandfather was an Officer, my Great Uncle a good friend of the great Finnish General, Mannerheim. To know there were reasons for their emigration from Finland. To know that, originally, they were Swedes and took on a Finnish name, subsequently running steamboats in a certain area in Finland.

This history is important for an understanding of what makes us who we are.

In turn, it is also important to understand the history of this country so that we can move into the future with greater understanding of what makes ‘us’, collectively, as we are.

With this aim at the back of our minds Julie, Keren & I took our children to the Aboriginal Art Gallery on Lady Denman Drive by the lake. It was also a bit of fun.

Greg, the artist, was a stand out. He engaged with all of the children, guiding them and involving them quite naturally and having everyone doing something within moments: The kids dot painting, the adults coating a canvas in one colour, himself drying canvas with a hair dryer and then, drop everything – Time to Dance! Greg pulled out the didgeridoo and expertly wove sounds together using this simple yet so complex instrument.

Then, without any fuss the children were pulled in and shown how to do the ‘Kangaroo dance’, there was not a chance for them to pull away, shy or embarrassed, Greg executed the moment expertly.

After hand printing our canvases they were left there to dry and for him to paint the animals of our choice over the top. We are all anticipating the completion of these personalised artworks, as, from all evidence, his work is quite beautiful in that unique Aboriginal style he expertly utilises.

We were able to book this date in very easily, casually hooking it up in conversation, with payment agreed upon then, there being no advertised cost.

For a personal art class you really couldn’t get better than this.

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