Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Olive Oil is not Olive Oil

The mislabling of food products in Australia seems to continue unabated. Major supermarkets continue to sell such mislabled products such as "pure, light, extra light olive oil" to an unsuspecting public, who seem unaware that they are buying diluted oil. Much of this so called olive oil, has failed the Australian Standards test for olive oil. The so called oil ,has often been contamjnated by other products, while cheap olive oil often is heat extracted, destroying it's health giving properties. The Australian Olive Oil Council has made repeated represention to various members of parliament, and has had a sympathetic hearing, but more needs to be done to create some action. The major supermarkets continue to sell this poor substitute as olive oil, claiming they will meet Australian Standard when there is a demand, whenever that will be is anyones guess. In the meantime, they continue to sell oils that are unsalable in Europe. It is highly profitable to dump this product in Australia for both themselves and the Australian supermarkets.

The only way to correct this continual practice, is to legalise the requirement of meeting Australian Food Standards by law. The Aust. Olive Council urges anyone concerned about the quality of the food they consume, to write, email, or phone their local members of Federal Parliament, in both Houses, requesting them to support a private member's or hopefully, Government Bill to make such an obligation binding. The people of this country deserve nothing less.

Not only are European producers dumping their olive oil rubbish here, but other importers food products package them here and lable them in large print 'Packed in Australia'. But rarely  tell the consumer  where the item has been imported from. Much of the house brands currently sold in major supermarkets simply say, imported ingredients. This problem of incorrect labeling must be address by everyone living in this country, your health depends on it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Transit of Venus, Hobart

Courtesy of Mercury

As a Libran I could not possibly miss the Transit of Venus, an event that only comes around every hundreds years or so. Luckily the event happens in pairs eight years apart, so you have a double chance in each lifetime. Living in Hobart there is always the chance of cloud cover or overcast weather, but on” the day “  last week, the sky cleared and the sun came out. The Astrological Society of Tasmania set up a battery of telescopes on the Hobart Domain, a great location as this area juts out into the River Derwent allowing panoramic views of not only the sky, but of the river and Hobart as well. Generally, this area is mainly used for kite flying, the odd circus and somewhere to park your car. During the morning of the Transit there was a steady stream of people using the telescopes and taking this opportunity to view that other world.

The sun proved to be pulsating orange ball with a scattering of sun spots randomly scattered across its surface, and there was Venus a perfect round black form moving across its surface. I must confess, I was somewhat surprised by the perfect geometry of its shape in sharp contrast to that of the sun. Around the sun’s edge fiery gases licked the heavens. The whole scene was one that suggested power and heat, so if you missed it make a note for next time; it is only 117 years away.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blake Prize 2012 for Religious Art?

Luke Roberts "Three Figures at the base of the Crucifixions"

The 60th BLAKE PRIZE seems neither religious or spiritual, despite claims of exploring these matters on the front of the catalogue. If anything, the touring exhibition currently showing in Hobart is not only disappointing, buy does not seem to address any of the issues claimed. In fact, nearly the entire exhibition could have been shown in any mixed display of art works anywhere no matter what the subject, as there is little reference to the purpose for which the prize was created. When the Blake Prize was established in the 1950s, there was a desire to create a vehicle  to promote a modern, and dare I say genuine expression of religious truths. A landscape painting by Carla Hananiah "Refuge" won the John Coburn Award for Emerging Artist, deserves commendation, but little else. The winner of this year's $20000 prize money was rather questionable 90-minute video of what appears to be  a group of Muslims praying in a suburban house. How a video of a religious service of any sort, becomes a work of art is hard to say. One would think that any church, mosque or temple event would qualify. The recording of something does not turn it into an art work, let alone be considered the winning entry. Then there is the referral work to Breughel's masterpiece "The Blind Leading the Blind" in Naples. However, in Brueghel's painting each and every figure is packed with emotion and hidden meaning, while Lisa Lee "Safety Seekers" seems to lack any meaning what so ever, apart from the suggested haven for asylum for boat people. Even haloed orangutans receive a jersey in this show. All in al,l the exhibition leaves much to be desired, no matter what your viewpoint. Whether the use of the word spiritual has lead to this situation, I will leave the viewer to judge.

Luke Roberts' digital triptych, panel one  illustrated above pretty much sums it up. While attempting to make reference to Christ's Crucifixion, The use of strippers, female impersonators in scant clothing boarders on the insulting to any one with any Christian belief. One can imagine the out cry, if a scene from the Koran was treated in this way. It would seem in this multi cultural Australia no respect is shown towards majority views. Personally, I respect any artist right to express themselves as they see fit, but such a work as the above, has no place in an exhibition of religious art. Strangely, little objection seems to have been expressed,  when you consider outcry  over the photo of a pubescent girl by Henderson a few years ago.

What the founding fathers of the Blake think about this new direction, I leave to your imagination. Serious thought needs to be undertaken by the current co-coordinators, they need to come up with a new theme, and stop referring to religion, spiritual etc, for these themes this current show is not.