An Australian Xmas – Celebrating Past Glories & Future Joys

After Oswald Rose Campbell (Australian, 1820-1887) Christmas In The Bush, 1867. Colour wood engraving, letterpress text, title and artist in upper and lower margins, 32.6 x 44.7cm (image). Repaired old folds, tears and creases. Linen-backed. Text reads "Supplement to the Illustrated Sydney News. Gibbs, Shallard, & Co. Printers, Sydney. Drawn by O.R. Campbell." Held in the National Gallery of Australia collection

It is Christmas time in Australia. Our long hot summer has arrived and our bodies are screaming out that it is time for rest, recreation and refreshment of body, mind, spirit and soul. It is a good time to re-visit the Christmas Message – Caring, Courage, Compassion and Love

2013 has been another great and busy year with a wonderful increase in the readership of our posts and columns, which makes all our contributors and writers delighted, especially with your response.

This year special feature writers Helen Johns (Qld) and Janet Walker (Vic) joined Fashion Elixir’s Jo Bayley (Sydney) and myself here in Melbourne, in penning the posts we publish daily for your information and enjoyment.

We strive to provide accurate up to the minute information, although that doesn’t mean we are infallible. It is our goal however, which we all work hard to achieve. We all welcome comments and interaction with you our loyal readers.

Christmas image by Australian Aboriginal artist Duwun Lee, courtesy National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC).

All around the world there is a growing sense of community we all need to embrace, encourage and sustain, recognizing the excellence of our cultural wealth.

Inter-cultural exchanges of great art and objects work well as exhibitions around the world. They are helping us all to expand our knowledge and establish connections between communities, while providing a way and means for us to get to know each other better.

This arts dialogue is especially important. All art and design reflects who we are; our attitudes and philosophies our fashions and passions.

Indigenous culture will always hold the number one spot in the Australian landscape story and as a nation we want to nurture and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s cultural expression.

Aboriginal artists are tribal guardians of the mythical Dreamtime.

Their spirits and stories are represented in the works of Aboriginal artists through a broad vocabulary of symbols and highly-stylized images.

They employ this imagery as stewards and veritable keepers of ancient tribal wisdom.

Each great contemporary Indigenous artist is like a sphinx in the desert, standing guard over a sort of inner sanctum containing the ark of their covenant with the Dreamtime spirits.

Ceratopetalum gummiferum Cunoniaceae, what Australian's call Christmas Bush. It begins flowering in late Spring and by Christmas day its terminal sprays of white star-like flowers that occur in late spring have become beautiful reddened, swollen calyces for summer.

No one thrives in a climate without hope and if we keep building trust and empathy between societies and cultures we can gradually make the world a better place.

Telling our stories to each other through art will help the healing process.

In 2014 we have Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado at the National Gallery Victoria during the winter season.

The Prado‘s holdings of Italian art are renowned around the world as intimate genre scenes of historical significance.

Locally musical events continue to dominate the Australian scene from rock to pop from jazz to rap from ancient to modern. Our orchestra scene is also alive and well.

In 2014 the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra based in Sydney will celebrate their 25th anniversary with an outstanding program of works.

Festivals are enjoying increased attention and focus and its good to see that Hobart Baroque, a celebration of the music composed during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and England held in the beautiful city of Hobart in Tasmania.

Festivals bring everyone together in an atmosphere of expectation and enjoyment.

Holding the past and present in balance is an ongoing struggle as we all endeavour to innovate and imagine the future.

Events like these illuminate our lives and keep us going forward towards continual growth, 21st century enlightenment and a future filled with promise.

Great voices resonating around the world remind us of the wisdom of the words of inspiring individuals.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead believed that we should “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, she said, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

As 2013 draws towards a close The Culture Concept Circle team wish to convey our very best wishes to all our readers and supporters, whose loyalty and encouragement this year has meant such a great deal to us all.

Thank you.

All our writers will be having a rest from 24th December until Monday 6th January 2014. We wish you and yours a merry Christmas, a secure and safe holiday season and a happy New Year. Catch you again soon.

Carolyn McDowall, Writer, Publisher – The Culture Concept Circle, Xmas 2013

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