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Only two Archibald judges are recognised artists

by July 30, 2017 General

I agree with John Olsen (‘Worst decision I’ve ever seen”, July 29-30). The most surprising aspect of the judging panel of the prestigious Archibald Prize is that only two of the 11 members are qualified and recognised artists. Since when, for example, is the Sydney Eisteddfod judged by bankers, financiers, lawyers and medicos? Maybe Glen Stevens could be one of the judges on The Voice. And just for the record I am not an artist and did not enter the Archibald competition.  

Louise Flaherty Killara

Get over it, John. Your portrait didn’t win. Mitch Cairns’ painting of Agatha Gothe-Snape is awesome. Take a second look at it and you will see just how clever it is. Even Matisse would have agreed with this view.  

Michael O’Brien Newtown

With due respect to one of Australia’s greatest living painters I strongly disagree with Olsen’s statement that Betty Kuntiwa Pumani’ s painting Antara (winner of the Wynne Prize for landscape painting) is in “cloud cuckoo land”. Agreed, the painting is not at all like a “Gruner or a Whiteley”, nor should it be. Aboriginal artists represent more than just the physical features of a landscape because it is where their Dreaming ancestors reside. Perhaps John Olsen could become better acquainted with Aboriginal art before suggesting that Antara may not be a landscape painting.

Chris Stevenson Balmain

I have to support and agree with Olsen. He is a man of stature in the art Industry and knows how the progression of the Archibald has changed, but normally changed for the better. When the winning entry is compared to the Archibald of 2016, Portrait of Barry Humphries, the problem is displayed. This year is not a portrait, and that is the problem. The painting is unacceptable, and definitely not comparable to a Matisse.The Wynne Prize is for traditional landscape, and I feel that all the artists who lovingly tendered their works understood this. Kuntiwa Pumani’s work is not a traditional landscape by the rules as I understood.There should be a separate section for Aboriginal art, covering the Dream Time, the laws, culture and the feeling for the land. As an Australian I respect this special attachment to the land, and I want it recognised into the future. However, I have spent months preparing a work for the Wynne competition along “European” lines. It has now proved to be a waste of time. I am sure other artists feel the same. Do we now start painting in “Dot Art” or similar, so that we can compete? The gallery has to be consistent.

Rodney Bassetti Vaucluse

Olsen needs to answer three questions: Was Cairns’ winning work “portrait” within the rules of the Archibald competition? Was the entry judged in accordance with the competition rules? Was the portrait deemed to be the winner by the judge(s)? If the answer to all three questions is yes then that work is the winning work. If Olsen doesn’t like it that’s his business. His petulant outbursts as reported should best be kept private.

David Davies Callala Beach

Olsen might do well to remember one of the first art prizes he won. The Launceston Art Prize of 1964 was given to John for his painting called, as I recall, Me the Ugly Gardener. It was a riot of lines and colours that jumped from the wall to jostle the minds of most viewers. Much of the population who saw the painting along with a good few local artists went berserk that the judges could award first place to such a weird work. Controversy ran riot in the local media for days. Now it is a much loved work. Take heart, Mitch, yours is a true winner and will remain so.
William Turner Port Macquarie

Congratulations, Mitch Cairns, and what a nasty old nark you are, John Olsen.  John Campbell Ocean Shores

Hue and cry over photo

Olive Cotton was interested in trying to push the boundaries of film and was always encouraging to young artists. As her daughter and a sponsor of the Olive Cotton portrait prize (“Fallout over portrait win calls copyright into question” and “Questions of art over grandmother’s scrawl”, July 28), I have absolute respect for Dr Shaune Lakin, his ways of thinking about photography, and his selection of Justine Varga’s unusual, intimate, glimpse into the soul of her subject (who is surely not the “vulnerable old lady” conjured up in news reports). When the hue and cry is over, this episode may help to refresh the art of photographic portraiture.
Sally McInerney Glebe

Glib speeches can’t hide difficult reality

The dilemma of where to spend one’s final days or weeks is illustrated by the story “Final destination” (July 29-30). No matter how strongly a person may want to die at home, only a small number are able to carry out that wish because there is never enough government funding.

In addition, no amount of glib speeches by politicians, when handing out funding packages, will disguise the reality that a family member, often the spouse, will need to carry out the bulk of the day-to-day care when they themselves could be aged or in poor health. A sense of loyalty keeps them going in between the times that a palliative support person comes. Yes, that support is wonderful, but it is limited.

And what of those people who can’t express their wishes? My husband, if his mind was not clouded by Alzheimer’s disease, would probably have wanted to die at home. When the time comes, he will die “at home”, in his aged care facility, whose staff treat him kindly and care for him in a way I never could. They regard it as a privilege to look after residents around the clock in their final days.

In the end, all we can hope for is a peaceful death.

Joan Brown Orange

Thank you Justine Betteridge, and all who work in palliative care, for your compassion and devotion.

John Cotterill Kingsford

Never, in my 75 years, have I wished to be rich.

If I were I would give Justine a car and the services of a driver for her lifetime. May God bless her and keep her.

Christopher Davis Boorowa

Give voters the option to de-merge councils

The Premier has an easy way to restore some faith in the hearts of voters in local council areas which have already been amalgamated and so won’t benefit from her announcement last week of no more council mergers. Simply include a plebiscite with voting papers for the coming council elections asking voters in those areas if they want to stay part of a merged council or whether they want to de-merge. Of course, it will need a quick decision on the part of the state government to go ahead with such an approach but surely it isn’t a hard one. It would help introduce an element of fairness.

Pip Hughes Balmain

I agree with most of the points in Saturday’s editorial on abandoned council amalgamations. But to these I would add three more: First, the amalgamations policy was not advised to voters before the last state government election. Second, the KPMG economic analysis on which the Baird government relied to claim major economic savings was always hidden from us. And third, most urban councils were already combining purchasing power to achieve economies, so there were really no great savings to be made through amalgamations. The only potential beneficiaries would have been developers, and local government would have become yet more remote from its citizens.

Tom Lawson Greenwich

PM needs to stand up for GPO

Thank you, Elizabeth Farrelly, for shining a bright light on the sale of our beloved GPO building (July 29-30).

As this is a Commonwealth matter, I call on the Prime Minister to overturn this farcical situation immediately. Otherwise this sorry state of affairs sends a very strong message to all of us that anything goes, and that Sydney is no longer worth living in, as it no longer has a heart left to hold us here.

John Swanton Botany

 Elizabeth Farrelly mentions the Education and Lands buildings as “gone”.

 I have only ever been able to experience the exterior of these buildings, not even a rooftop view. A Singapore investment company is planning soon to lease and  reinvent these glorious sandstone structures into a boutique hotel with some very clever re-imagining of the interiors and rooftop spaces.   They will not be towing them back to Singapore, but breathing new life into them for anyone here to finally go inside and enjoy.

If we waited for local government funds to revise the use of these two Sydney buildings things would possibly not eventuate. One would never ever be able to see and experience what these buildings “feel like” from the inside. At the moment they are a rabbit warren of government-related offices and would probably remain so if an inspired idea from Singapore was not able to reach fruition.

Greg Vale Kiama

Greedy cricketers damaging the game

I have followed Australian cricket for over 70 years  (Malcolm Knox column, July 28-30). I am appalled at the greedy attitude of well-paid  cricketers. This is selfish and harmful to the game. Now I read the cricketers wish to have “veto” rights on where money for junior cricket is allocated. Far better if the players focus on playing and winning, rather than getting involved with the administration.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association must be badly advised. Fans are extremely disappointed with our players, and sponsors are heading for the exits. The money pie is getting smaller.

Bruce Flood Abbotsford 

Not an “urn” but an “earn”.

Ivan Head  Burradoo

Shorten just cynical

Peter Hartcher writes to his usual high standard  (“Nobody calls Shorten a lapdog any more” July 29-30).

What seems to be missing in his article is the opinion of people like me. I have a long memory and would never describe Mr Shorten as a lapdog. Rather, a shrewd union-trained politician. I equally remember his behind-the-scenes Machiavellian manipulations.

The latest blatant piece of political cynicism is his taking up of the republican cause.

I am not a monarchist but would like to know what kind of republic he proposes. If it would be based for example on the US model. Currently that brand is somewhat damaged. Rather the devil you know thank you, Mr Shorten.

John Ryan  Horsley

Boris for PM (here)

I am seeking support, and hopefully money, for my campaign to solve our latest parliamentary imbroglio, hopefully while Boris Johnson is still with us and that his expressed sympathetic interest for our country is real (“Johnson quells fuss over Brexit”, July 29-30). The first step is for Boris to renounce all forms of British citizenship of himself and of all members of his family, particularly if his mother has the same capacity as some of ours to interfere with a son’s freedoms, and join us as soon as he can be entangled. The prospect of his then becoming Foreign Minister in Canberra and perhaps later Prime Minister, and in the process bring some humour into our lives, is seductive. Subscription details to be announced soon.

David Finney Northwood

One Hanson’s enough

If Malcolm Roberts goes, we get Pauline Hanson’s sister (“Roberts for court, Hanson sister ready”, July 29-30). One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Brian Johnstone  Leura

Abbott in his cell?

Is Tony OK? Haven’t heard a word from him for a week.
 Rod Tuck  Katoomba

Check the small print on Trump hissy fits

​On reading the long list of how presidential aides were sacked over recent days, weeks and months, I wonder about the cost in dollars. Is each man on a contract? Are there terms and conditions regarding Twitter and Trump hissy fits? Are they all receiving hefty payouts? If so, that pricey Mexican Wall may never be finished – covfefe​.

Lorraine Hickey

North Avoca

At the rate  Mr Trump is going through the Republican Party there will soon be nobody left to “serve”. Perhaps Peter Dutton might be called upon to consider the position of Head of Border Protection. Mind you, it would be a terrible loss to Australia.

Peter Paige Woolwich

Dammit – Reince gone just when we have learnt to pronounce his name.

Bill Riley Cammeray

  Only Charlie Dickens invented more engaging names, with monikers
 like Martin Chuzzlewit,  and Pumblechook up there with the best.  Sure beats the banality of Billy Shorten and our PM Tremble. 

Bill Thomas Castle Hill 

Jesus a Labor man?

It appears that Jesus might be a Labor supporter. All day on Saturday next to the steps of Sydney Town Hall where the party was having its annual conference a preacher was loudly spruiking his belief in Jesus as our saviour surrounded by a posse of followers handing out religious pamphlets.  I wonder if the ALP has had some divine help in making it the party that would win an election if currently held.

Con Vaitsas Ashbury