Saturday, July 23, 2011

Musing on the Archibald

Some things are just eerily serendipitous. On our first night in Melbourne, several weeks ago, we went for dinner to a fairly lousy Chinese restaurant. It was noisy and crowded, and we were studying the menu when the lively young woman next to me leaned over and said "don't order the Lemon Chicken - it's like rubber." After that salient piece of advice, we struck up a rambling conversation and somewhere along the line, she said that we would have to go see the Archibald Prize exhibit out at Tarawara. We didn't know what she was talking about, but duly made note of it, and a few days later we made our way to the exhibit, using several trains and buses to get there.

In an earlier blog I talked about what an amazing show it was. What has been even more amazing is how the thread of it has followed us everywhere throughout Australia. Everyone talks about it. Many artists we have met have entered the competition. We have seen the work of the Archibald finalists in many museums and galleries. Last night when we visited Celia Gullett, one of her studio mates was a former Archibald winner, and several of his big canvas portraits were lying around in the studio, many about ten feet tall! If not for that random comment in a restaurant, we might have missed it all. Thank you, Rubber Chicken Lady!!

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Location:Sydney, AU

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