VV Week 5- The Sacred in The Australian Landscape

Before our visit to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” we had a wonderful session dealing with the aspects of the sacred in the landscape descriptions of A.D. Hope’s poem “Australia” and Mitchell’s journals of exploration through Victoria in the Early 19th Century. We put these images next to John Glover’s paintings of the Tasmanian bush in the mid- Nineteenth Century <!––> and Drysdale’s painting the Rainmaker
What we explored here was the way in which A.D.Hope certainly expressed his sense of a powerful new force in the Australian landscape that could challenge all that Europe stood for; this view-point was strongly supported by artists in the mid-twentieth century (like Drysdale) who dared to paint the aboriginal image as filled with a mysterious depth of unknown force and power. Mitchell in contrast was concerned to establish a comfortable sense of how everything he saw in Australia was “like home”… and we saw this tendency expressed also in the John Glover painting. These are ideas that build on our exploration of David Malouf’s passage from “Fly Away Peter” which puts together in the one passage the idea of a known landscape and an unknown formless landscape…. opening us to experiences we may never before have considered…. Thank you all for your vigorous contribution to the discussion on this topic… and to Kevin Klehr of ABC Radio who has begun his exploration of our class for a program on this innovative development in University Education where Australian Catholic University is reaching out into the wider community to break down the hierarchical barriers to education that have become entrenched in our society…. we look forward to hearing how this program unfolds Kevin…..
We concluded today’s session with an introduction to Shakespeare and his times in preparation for this evening’s performance… and thank you all who contributed so generously to the FEAST we had before descending on the Opera House!!!

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