Home Arts is Where the Heart Is

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The trouble with travelling a lot with your kids is that they become blasé about things. Sure, travelling educates and stretches kids in ways school could never do, but it means the kids need more more more. More exciting. More bigger. More better. More special.

I mean, truth be told, how can you beat Angkor Wat? And what about Anaheim Disney? It has that Original spirit to it that Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and perhaps even Florida just can't beat.

It was with much frustration, then, that I took the kids to Questacon National Science and Technology Centre for kids here in Canberra. Sure, they enjoyed it well enough, but I was astounded when they kept rattling on about how "the one in San Fransisco was cooler".

This might be true, but it doesn't stand you in good stead when dozens of regular Aussies are staring at your kids in "well la de daa, listen to that brat"ness.

It's easy to become blasé about the talent and the provisions we have in our home country. On a recent visit to the National Gallery of Australia, I must admit, I had to pull my head in when I found myself groaning over the lack of Monet waterlily paintings. There are less than I have fingers on one hand, that's for sure.

But then I had to remind myself that we sure do have a decent stack of Sydney Nolan's. In fact, the Gallery is currently building a new hall to contain them all. We also have a wonderful range of Arthur Boyds, Edgar Degas and a good smattering of Andy Warhols, for that matter. In fact, we have quite an incredibly rich variety of national and international art - not only at the National Gallery, but at State galleries all over Australia - a feat considering we are a country with roughly the population of greater Shanghai.

The alluring thing about Europe and America and Asia and anywhere else in the world is that they are Elsewhere. They host That Which We Don't Have. Why would we want it all here? Travel wouldn't even be worthwhile.

Opening our eyes, opening our kids' eyes and helping them see is so much more important than just 'looking'. Every place on the planet has its treasures - artistic or otherwise. Take the kids into your local community and go see.

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