Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 30, 2012

Friday, 30th March 2012 – an ‘arty’ prediction, and other matters!!

I mentioned this a week or so ago, but the Archibald Prize, for the year’s best portrait painting, is due to be awarded  within the next 24 hours or so – there are 41 final finalists. Rather than doing the usual tipping – horses, football, elections – I decided to nominate the winner from one of these six –

  • Father Bob McGuire [by Luke Cornish],
  • Angus McDonald [by Tim McGuire],
  • John Wood by [Raelene Sharp],
  • Melody – Missy Higgins [by Kate Tucker] ,
  • Self portrait [by Natasha Bienick] or
  • Self portrait [by Jenny Sages] –

Knowing the usual outcome of  my rather conservative tipping, no doubt one of the more outrageous portraits will be selected by the ‘experts’!! We will return with ‘that’ outcome once the results are announced.

Meanwhile, I began the day with another early visit to the dentist, to have a filling placed in the root canal he had ‘cleaned out’ last week – a shorter, less strenuous  procedure than last week, didn’t even require a local anesthetic – and I was out of there, thankfully, in a relatively short time.  Just before I went in, received a text message from Heather, wishing me well for that visit and thanking me, again,  for my presence yesterday at her mother’s funeral service.  I think I was back home by 8.30am, and really, had no intention of undertaking any physical activities today [apart from sitting out in the afternoon sunshine in the back garden this afternoon, trying to read, but constantly almost ‘dosing’ off!].

Meanwhile I notice that in a jumping horse race during the week here in Melbourne, a competing horse had to be put down after a race fall. That issue had calmed a little over recent months after a couple of years of rather horrific accidents on the jumps track, and a very volatile protest group. No doubt, after this week’s death, that protest movement will be making it’s presence felt again.  Victoria is one of few Australian states that continues to tolerate jumps racing. I’ve made my feelings felt on numerous occasions previously – I like to watch the jumps, but usually do so with some apprehension, and the hope that all the horses are going to get around the course safely. But it doesn’t always happen. Apart from the finance of minority groups and their influence on the government to allow the sport to continue, I think it is only the fact that the number of deaths from a couple of years ago has dropped off so considerably, that the racing is still permitted.  And the racing industry view, as perhaps reflected by one comment made yesterday by the Melbourne Racing Club Chairman , when suggested that the jumping fraternity needed to look at the big picture – the season as a whole, not one day. ‘Jumps racing needs to focus on yet another safe and successful season, while recognising that some fatalities will occur. The rest is noise”. Well that noise are the opponents arguing that ‘no’ deaths should be tolerated and simply accepted as a ‘side affect’ of the sport. I agree while realising that horses will ‘fall’ at some stage, whether it be out in the wild, or on a race or even training track. It is the acceptance of deaths by people like the chairman that many, myself included, find difficult to stomach.

An emailed letter from the Carlton Coach  received today, following last night’s game at the MCG, whilst making substantial reference to the players who contributed much to the win, he also noted that  with the Richmond game now done and dusted and the 44-point win now in the history books……and…. in reflecting on the pre-season, where much was made of our winless practice match form, it’s worth noting that ……while we were actually in front in some of those matches, we decided to give rookie [new] listed players an opportunity to win those games. ……………..In closing, many have asked whether I’m actually relieved that Thursday night’s result at the MCG went our way.  To tell you the truth, I’ve just found it part of the journey. After all, just as many match points are on offer in round two and to put an undue emphasis on the opening round would be to basically sell every other game short . . . and you do so at your peril. [Brett Ratten, Coach].   Meanwhile, there are still seven matches to be played between now and Sunday to complete Round 1 of the 2012 Season. With 18 teams now in the competition, that means a 9 match round each weekend.

I noticed a brief report in the Weekly Times during the week concerning research into the side-affects of the drought conditions of the decade past. As Peter Hemphill wrote, the stresses built up from a decade of drought prompted many families to consider the ‘taboo topic’ of walking away from their farms. But they found a reason to stay, a social research report says.  The Critical Breaking Point report, released last week, documents the ‘rollercoaster of emotions’ farmers experienced from 2001 as they tried to cope with prolonged drought followed by the deluge that then devastated grain crops during the 2010-11 harvest. University of Melbourne research fellow Lauren Rickards interviewed 109 people from 56 farms in the Mallee-Wimmera regions during February 2007 and again in February last year to compile report for the Birchip Cropping Group [one of the small towns in that region, which in fact happens to be where my Father was born in 1921]. Dr Rickards said some farmers had opted for ‘commuter farming’ – living away from their properties and driving to work each day – in a bid to stop mental health issues and other burdens affecting their families. She said that while commuter farming had already been in place for some families to meet the needs of spouse employment reasons or the schooling of children, the drought had helped accelerate the practice. I imagine also, that many had to actually obtain jobs in nearby locations etc, simply in order to generate enough income to keep the farm as an option until the drought years were over. I’m sure there was much more in the report not referred to here, that would make for interesting reading.

As for my Archibald Prize selection – well, I was right on one count – no doubt one of the more outrageous portraits will be selected by the ‘experts’!!  Not sure what they are experts in, not portraits in my book!!! This was the winner, below, described as the portrait with no face!!

Archibald Prize

WINNER: Tim Storrier self protrait, The historic wayfarer (after Bosch) has won the 2012 Archibald Prize. Source: Supplied

NSW artist Tim Storrier has won the 2012 Archibald Prize for a self-portrait without a face.

The controversial work, entitled The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch), features a pith-helmeted figure carrying a backpack, which includes his dog Smudge.
The figure itself has glasses but no face.
The artist’s face does appear on a small piece of paper floating in the air, which the dog’s eyes are glued to.
“I suppose you can say I have won with a portrait of a dog,” Storrier told reporters after the winner was announced at the Art Gallery of NSW.
“It is based on a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, called the Wayfarer, painted in 1510 where the figure is believed to be choosing a path or possibly the prodigal son returning.
“It is a journey through the landscape of the artist’s mind, accompanied by Smudge, the critic and guide of the whole enterprise.”



  1. Hi Bill, hows things?

    Interesting you metioning about jump racing. Did you see recently that a TV show in the US set in the world of horse racing has been ended due to several horses having to be put down?

    Hami 🙂

  2. Hi Hami, good to hear from you. 🙂

    No, I didn’t see the show yu referred to but I did recently see a show, or maybe read something the many animals that were killed or suffered dearly in the making of many of the old movies, including some of the Walt Disney movies. I think those movie makers have possibly cleaned theie ‘acts’ up a little since those days [not so long ago] but it was a sobering and disturbing thought to think back on the movies concerned, and then read about what happened ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak.

    Interesting, I considered discontinuing with these ‘posts’ of mine, nice to know somebody reads the occasional one, for what they are worth! I see there are a couple of yours I have in my inbox to have a look at 🙂

    Cheers, take care,


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