Monument honours Indigenous soldiers Reply

By Ripu Bhatia

Yininmadyemi

‘Yininmadyemi: Thou didst let fall’ by Aboriginal artist Tony Albert to acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in the nation’s military. Photograph courtesy Sydney City Council

A marble and steel structure entitled Yininmadyemi: Thou Didst Let Fall, was designed by Indigenous artist Tony Albert as a symbol of the historical mistreatment of Indigenous service men and women. The sculpture was unveiled in Hyde Park last month to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers.

Tony Albert’s sculpture, located opposite the War Memorial, is comprised of four bullets and three fallen shells.

Aboriginal scholar Daniele Hromek who attended the opening ceremony, says the historic and continuing role of Indigenous people in the Australian Army does receive enough recognition today. Ms. Hromek says the sculpture as a step forward in honouring Indigenous soldiers.

“There is a lacking of recognition for Aboriginal people in all areas of society and this is mirrored in the army,” she says. “I suspect most people don’t know there were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars.” More…

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Low cost food and hospitality a local initiative Reply

By Jennifer Haines

Riverside Corner Store opening

Brian Willoughby, Corner Store Manager; Emily Dennis, Riverside Church Community Worker; and Reverend Justin Campbell, Pastor of Riverside Church, at Riverside Corner Store. Photograph: Jennifer Haines

“It is important for churches to give a damn about people in their time of need,” says Reverend Justin Campbell at the official opening recently of Riverside Corner Store, an initiative of Riverside Church to provide low cost food and hospitality to residents in the Ermington area.

Councillor John Chedid, of Parramatta City Council, says the project “provides a vital service to the local community that is made more significant because it is done by locals”.

Riverside Corner Store was developed in response to a Community Needs Assessment Study, conducted by the Church, that identified poverty as the most significant issue facing residents in the Ermington area. Australian Bureau of Statistics data confirms that Ermington has a higher than average unemployment rate and lower than average income levels.

“The Corner Store project is a tangible way we can help families who are struggling,” Reverend Campbell says. More…

Vivid Sydney’s Musify+Gamify turned punters into performers Reply

By Thomas Williams

Ensemble Offspring

Ensemble Offspring performing a set of musical games at Musify+Gamify. These champions of innovative new music are driven by rules more akin to gaming than classical composition where explore dynamic and fluid musical environments. Image courtesy of Ensemble Offspring

Interactive art event Musify+Gamify gave everyone at this year’s Vivid Sydney celebrations the chance to perform alongside some of Australia’s most forward-thinking musicians, video game designers and artists.

Curated by Sydney University researchers Dr Lian Loke and Dr Oliver Bown, Musify+Gamify hosted two concerts and a free exhibition during its 11-day residency at Chippendale’s Seymour Centre in May.

The event featured a performance from Hans van Vliet, the brains behind Brisbane “indie bitpop band” 7bit Hero, whose mobile app lets audience members interact with the group’s live show.

“We have multiplayer games that are timed up with our music,” says Mr van Vliet. “There are lots of visuals and lots of boss battles, and then everyone works together to take them down while I provide a soundtrack for it.”

Dr Bown says Mr van Vliet’s interactive performances — which also emulate 8-bit Gameboy sounds — work at the edge of what’s typically acceptable when it comes to audience participation. More…

Young Australians march to move in with Mike Baird Reply

Young protesters

Youth protestors gather at Parliament House. Photograph by Casey Guevara

By Sarah Yahya

Equipped with furniture and other household items, a large group of young people marched to Parliament House on March 11 to protest about housing affordability.
Organised by Sydney Alliance and supported by the Uniting Church Synod, the protest ‘Hey Mike, We’re Moving In With You!’ called on the NSW Premier Mike Baird to address the lack of affordable housing for young people.

Holding up a sign that read ‘What’s your plan for affordable housing?’, Michael McClurg, 23, said he considered the possibility of moving outside NSW but concluded, “It’s not realistic for me to be living in Sydney but the work is here. There are more opportunities here.” More…

Glitter, Coffee and Party Reply

By Jana Bohlmann

Morning glory hula hoop by Jana

Happy partygoers starting the day off with some hula hoop fun. Picture by Jana Bohlmann

The room is full of people dressed in bright colors dancing to energising music produced by a live DJ in the middle of Alexandria, Sydney. It is 6.30 in the morning. Glitter sparkles on their faces. On the other side of the room, there is a yoga class while smoothies and coffee are being served. Massages are also on offer. It seems like an odd combination of activities – party and breakfast and meditation practices – but it works. It is Morning Gloryville.

Morning Gloryville was started by Samantha Moyo and Nico Thoemmes in London in 2013 as an early morning dance party for sober partygoers. It ran on weekdays from 6.30-9.30am. Samantha and Nico came up with the concept because they were looking for a way of conscious clubbing, but could not find any parties where they were not surrounded by alcohol and drugs. Since then the event has evolved into a global movement operating in 19 cities worldwide. More…

Football tournament keeps memory alive Reply

In memory of Martin

Martin Knezevic: a football tournament honours his memory. Photograph: Visnja Begovic)

By Tiana Vitlic

There are many ways to remember a life lost through fond memories, photographs, stories. The life of Martin Knezevic is celebrated with all those – and a football tournament.
Martin, who died 19 years ago aged 22, was a local coach for Hurstville Zagreb FC. He was a team member, a team player, someone who was “fun loving, with a cheeky smile you could see for miles”. He was a friend, a brother, and a son. Several months after his death, his team decided to honour Martin with a tournament in his name.

“People from all over Australia come to Carss Park every February to participate,” says Visnja Begovic, Martin’s older sister. Since its beginning, the Martin Knezevic Football Tournament has grown from eight teams and 300 attendees, to 36 teams with thousands of attendees. It is a fun-filled event where people come enjoy a barbecue, catch up with friends, and participate in the sport Martin loved most.

“The first round begins at eight o’clock in the morning. It then continues throughout the day with knock out games,” Visnja Begovic says. “Usually it finishes by seven or eight o’clock at night.” More…

When talk of homosexuality is a crime Reply

By Jana Bohlmann

Gay love pic

The voice of the people. Photograph by Flats used under Creative Commons licence

Whether you are gay or straight, by next Sunday you will be a criminal in Kazakhstan if you talk about homosexuality. Russia adopted a law banning any promotion of homosexuality  two years ago. Now Kazakhstan is following its neighbour’s lead. While other countries legalise gay marriage, discussing homosexuality will be forbidden in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan, the country which borders Russia to its north and west, is mainly under Russian influence. Its draft bill was passed through the senate on the 19 February this year and now only requires presidential signing off. The Kazakh president, Nursultan Nasarbajews, who has held onto office since the country’s first election in 1990, is strongly opposed to the gay movement. More…

Endometriosis now an aggressive epidemic Reply

By Annette Tyrrell

Endometriosis

One in 10 women will end up with endometriosis. Image courtesy of Endometriosis Australia

It is an epidemic out-stripping diabetes and asthma. Endometriosis is an often-painful condition affecting the quality of life, productivity and fertility of one in 10 women at reproductive age, according to Endometriosis Australia.

While there is currently no known cause of endometriosis, if you ask Doctor Geoffrey Reid what causes it, you’ll get a frank answer. Speaking to a gathering of sufferers at the Endo March Sydney Yellow Cocktail Evening recently, Doctor Reid said, “To a certain extent it’s the doctors causing endometriosis. We are facilitating the propagation of a genetic condition by assisting these women to reproduce.” More…

Apps replace TXTBus system Reply

by Sylvana El-Khazen

Arrivo, Triptastic and Tripview are three of the new telephone apps that are helping Sydney commuters with transport information.

Arrivo, Triptastic and Tripview are three of the new telephone apps that are helping Sydney commuters with transport information.

A record number of commuters across NSW are opting to use transport apps to access real-time information. In July, there were more than 120,000 new downloads of the apps, and there are 40 million requests per month for real-time information from them, according to data gathered by Transport for NSW.

As a result, Transport for NSW’s TXTBus SMS system used to access real-time information for buses will cease from the September 17.

A spokesperson from Transport for NSW says, “The number of people accessing information from this service has dropped in recent months and the NSW Government is moving to newer and more reliable technology, like our smart phone apps which are proving to be more popular with the majority of our customers.”

Six transport apps are accessible on smart phones: Arrivo Sydney, NextThere, TransitTimes+, TripGo, Triptastic and Tripview.

For those who do not have smart phones to access these apps, Transport for NSW has maintained the 131500 customer service line.

TXTBus was introduced under former Minister for Transport John Robertson in November 2010, part of the Public Transport Information and Priority System (PTIPS), which tracked buses by satellite. It was initially offered on a six-month trial basis for Metrobuses, however extended to all Sydney buses in March 2011.

One of the most popular and free apps, NextThere, has had more than 30,000 downloads since its introduction in July. This app provides commuters with a list of buses and their expected arrival time, as well as information on bus delays. It also allows commuters to search the bus timetables of up to three bus stops across NSW. Another app, Arrivo Sydney, allows commuters to see the bus traveling on a map to see its progress on the route.

Isabel Georgeton, 67, a frequent commuter from Paddington, welcomes the use of the transport apps instead of the TXTBus SMS system. She finds it more convenient having access to the timetables online, rather than constantly checking for text messages from TXTBus.

Thea Bolt, 23, from Kingsford, also prefers the transport apps. A frequent user of real-time app Tripview, she says that such apps offer more comprehensive information to commuters then TXTBus and also finds they are more cost-effective. There is a one-off fee for a subscription to the transport apps, rather than sending numerous texts to TXTBus.

However, these commuters all commented that even though the apps are more efficient than TXTBus, there still remains a mismatch in the arrival times given on any real-time information service against the actual arrival times of buses.

Public art gaining attention in Sydney Reply

by Sally Mannering

Sculptor Peter Lewis won this year’s Transfield Award for his polished stainless steel work, Graffiti Moonstrike.

Sculptor Peter Lewis won this year’s Transfield Award for his polished stainless steel work, Graffiti Moonstrike.

The Sydney Sculptors’ Society is enjoying an increased interest in public art with attendance at its annual exhibition and awards up by 20 per cent from last year.

Sydneysiders are certainly talking about sculpture. There has been much controversy surrounding the City of Sydney’s commissioning of  $9 million dollars worth of art, including the much talked about 13.7 metre milk crate to be installed in Belmore Park.

The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, says initiatives like this will “cement Sydney’s reputation as a capital of culture and creativity”.

Feyona Van Stom, president of the Sydney Sculptors’ Society, says having accessible public art is very important because  “it makes people talk and consider the ideas and beliefs of others”. Ms Van Stom says that while public art needs to be of a very high technical and aesthetic standard, controversy around art is not necessarily a bad thing.

“It does not matter in the least if I like a particular work and you don’t; what is important is the conversation that follows,” she says.

Visitors at the current Sculptors Society exhibition at Darling Park agree with the need for more public art. Kate Kilby, a sales manager from Corrimal, says, “I come to this particular exhibition every year. I’m certainly a fan of more public art in Sydney. We have a rich culture and breathtaking backdrop that would really allow us to make a name for ourselves in this space.”

Ingrid Maack, of Girrawee, used the Sculptors Society exhibition to introduce her sons to sculpture. “We are really very lucky in Sydney to have access to some great public art, both permanent pieces and access to exhibitions like this,” she says.

The Sculptors Society exhibition offers several prizes each year, including the prestigious Franco Belgiono-Nettis Transfield Award. This year’s winner was Peter Lewis whose polished stainless steel work,  ‘Graffiti Moonstrike’, depicts three small dancers. He says he was “surprised but elated” to take out this year’s top prize. Mr Lewis was recently been commissioned by City of Sydney to create a 3.5 metre high bronze sculpture representing the changing face of the inner-city suburb of Green Square.

He says Sydney is catching up with Melbourne. “Sydney is recognising the value of public art and placing more importance on enriching the city through art.”

This year’s exhibition was launched and judged by Elsa Atkin, AM. Ms Atkin organises one of Sydney’s other premiere sculpture events, the annual Sculpture at Sawmillers exhibition at McMahons Point. She is also the former CEO of the National Trust. “This particular exhibition is a collection of works of a fantastic standard,” she says.

Ms Aken is a keen advocate of public art and, in particular, sculpture which she believes is an overlooked and underutilised art from.

“Art can inspire and liberate, it feeds our spirits,” she says.   “We need to buy it, place it where people can easily access it and bring art to the people – that’s the right thing to do.”