Edi­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Essay - Tim Dou­glas

Rose­mary Neill to­day con­tin­ues her se­ries of sto­ries on Al­bert Na­matjira and the cu­ri­ous case of the artist’s es­tate. A new doc­u­men­tary film is re­leased this week de­tail­ing the wa­ter­colourist’s re­la­tion­ship with artist Rex Bat­tar­bee and the world-fa­mous art it would pro­duce. As Neill re­vealed ear­lier this year, a cam­paign to re­gain the copy­right to Na­matjira’s work — sold for a song to a Syd­ney fam­ily in 1983 by the North­ern Ter­ri­tory — has been launched by his fam­ily. A very in­ter­est­ing story in­deed. On the sub­ject of in­dige­nous art, Dar­win cor­re­spon­dent Amos Aik­man to­day has an ex­clu­sive fea­ture on a sig­nif­i­cant col­lec­tion of Yol­ngu bark art with a south­ern Amer­i­can twist. (Spoiler alert: it has noth­ing to do with the re­moval of his­toric stat­ues.) I have never felt con­cerned for my per­sonal safety as an au­di­ence mem­ber at a per­for­mance, though there was one pro­duc­tion at which I felt very, very well pro­tected. At the Syd­ney open­ing of Opera Aus­tralia’s The Rab­bits in Jan­uary last year, Mal­colm Turn­bull sat front and cen­tre in the stalls. Be­hind the Prime Min­is­ter, and to my left, sat a hand­some, well-dressed gent in his late 20s. It wasn’t un­til af­ter the per­for­mance I no­ticed the tell­tale wire bug in his ear. The Prime Min­is­ter, nat­u­rally, had his se­cu­rity de­tail in tow. But some­thing about see­ing the Aus­tralian equiv­a­lent of the se­cret ser­vice at the opera was alarm­ing. Any­body who has been to the Syd­ney Opera House in re­cent times may have no­ticed a quite lit­eral chang­ing of the guard there. Con­cert­go­ers on their way into per­for­mances now rou­tinely have their bags checked by se­cu­rity be­fore en­try. Some pun­ters re­sent the im­po­si­tion — it causes (very slight) de­lays and, af­ter all, this is Aus­tralia, and that sort of thing doesn’t hap­pen here, right? But, re­ally, a queue is a small price to pay. A sign of the times in­deed. We should ex­pect to see more of that around the coun­try. Kate McLen­nan and Kate McCart­ney, fa­mous for their ABC iView sen­sa­tion The Ka­ter­ing Show, are two of the fun­ni­est peo­ple I’ve ever seen on tele­vi­sion. Graeme Blun­dell, one of the leg­ends of the screen and a man with more than a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence with Aus­tralia’s com­edy greats, agrees. His re­view of the pair’s new ABC pro­gram is on Page 31. Don’t miss it. Be­tween the two Kates and Grow­ing up Grace­fully’s clever Reilly sis­ters, Han­nah and El­iza, Aus­tralian TV com­edy seems to be in pretty good hands.

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