Ben Quilty launches exhibition of Myuran Sukumaran paintings for Sydney Festival

Artist Ben Quilty surrounded by works painted by Myuran Sukumaran, which will be exhibited at Campbelltown Arts Centre as part of the 2017 Sydney Festival. Photo: Daniel Boud Artist Ben Quilty (right) with Campbelltown Arts Centre director Michael Dagostino (left) and Sydney Festival director Wesley Enoch. Photo: Daniel Boud
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Sukumaran was a prolific painter during his incarceration in Bali’s Kerobokan jail and on Nusa Kambangan. Photo: Daniel Boud

With 24 hours left before he faced death by firing squad, Myuran Sukumaran could have been forgiven for wallowing in self-pity and regret. Yet Sukumaran, one of nine Australians arrested for heroin smuggling in 2005, spent his last day of life on the Indonesian island of Nusa Kambangan wielding a paint brush.

His friend and mentor, the Archibald Prize-winning artist Ben Quilty, says Sukumaran was determined to leave an artistic legacy and take a stand against the death penalty.

“The last day on the 28th of April, 2015, Myuran made four or five paintings,” Quilty says. “And he was up all night, as much as he could, with his family around him, supporting him, bringing him food. And he just painted and painted and painted till the end.”

The artworks painted by Sukumaran the day before he was executed last year will be exhibited at Campbelltown Arts Centre as part of the 2017 Sydney Festival.

Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise features more than 100 death-row paintings by Sukumaran as well as works created by seven artists in response to his execution.

One of the new works by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah features a dove nesting inside a circle of 3665 eggs, representing each day of the more than 10 years Sukumaran was imprisoned until his execution in 2015.

Sukumaran was a prolific painter during his incarceration in Bali’s Kerobokan jail and on Nusa Kambangan. He painted portraits of himself and friends inside prison as well as his family including a series of pictures of his grandfather on his death bed in Liverpool Hospital.

“By that point in Myuran’s prison life, he was very well-respected and trusted inside the prison and they allowed him to have a Skype for several days with his grandfather,” Quilty says.

It is one example of Sukumaran’s dramatic transformation from heroin smuggler to model prisoner who was entrusted to run language and art classes for inmates and even have keys to the jail’s medical facility, Quilty says.

The exhibition dwells on Sukumaran’s rehabilitation as well as the death penalty and treatment of prisoners in Australia, according to co-curator Michael Dagostino. “The whole idea of rehabilitation and redemption doesn’t really figure in our justice system.”

Sukumaran and fellow Bali Nine drug trafficker Andrew Chan were two of the prisoners executed by Indonesian authorities in April 2015.

Vigils were held across Australia in support of the pair, who grew up in western Sydney, and senior politicians pleaded with Indonesian authorities for their lives to be spared.

But a poll conducted in January 2015 found that more than half of Australians supported the death penalty for Sukumaran and Chan.

Controversy also surrounds the conduct of the Australian Federal Police in alerting Indonesian police about the Bali Nine, which led to their arrest in a country with the death penalty.

Sukumaran’s life and death also raises intensely personal issues for Dagostino and Quilty.

Dagostino, the director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, says there is a dark side to western Sydney: “Where I live there are drugs around and I’m scared for my son.”

Quilty says he hopes the exhibition prompts a debate about why young men engage in risk-taking and destructive behaviour.

He says Sukumaran paid a tragic price for the type of mistake made by many young men.

“I was locked up. I was arrested,” he says. “Not for anything quite as crazy as that but there was drugs and alcohol and violence. That was my background.”

He adds: “And my group of friends, whoever was the one who was going to go and buy the big bag of drugs was the risk taker who took the risk of actually going to prison for all the mates who then took the drugs and got high.”

Quilty also points out that racism and bullying were a daily reality for Sukumaran during his youth.

“That’s not an excuse and he never, ever looked for any excuse,” Quilty says. “He took his crime squarely on his shoulders but it’s an insight into what leads young men to behave the way they do.”

Quilty says drugs remain an integral part of youth culture.

“I have a son now and I am going to talk about it and I’m going to continue talking about it with him, with his friends, with my community to work out why that happened,” he says. “Why was that drug culture completely ignored by authorities, by society, by our parents, by teaching staff of the schools and universities?”

Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise is at Campbelltown Arts Centre from January 13 to March 26.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Council’s new boss faces uncertain future

Planning and regulatory director Peter Chrystal has been chosen to replace Frank Cordingley as the new interim CEO of Newcastle Council.
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However his tenure in the top joblooks set to last just months as city continues to churn through a revolving door of general managers.

Mr Chrystal will act in the role for up to 12 months while recruitment takes place for another interim CEO. That personwill lead the council for 12 months or until a decision is made by the state governmenton whether it will merge with Port Stephens Council.

Areplacement had to be found for MrCordingley immediately on Tuesday night becauseunder the Local Government Act, hiscontract could not be extended beyond a year.

The arrangementspassed with the support of Labor and Greens councillors, who accused the state government of cornering theminto “asituation not of our making” by stringing out the amalgamation decision.

Greens Cr Therese Doyle said it was critical the council had “good governance” while it guided the city through a period of change, including deciding on the usesof the old heavy rail corridor.

“I think the question of expense, of course it should be weighed but it’s important for us to…go through the process of the elected council selecting the CEO,” she said.

Mr Chrystal becomes the eighth Newcastle Council general manager in ten years, in a role that has been referred to as a “poisoned chalice”.

The Liberals and Independents argued thathe shouldfill the role indefinitely while the merger decision looms, labellingit a “silly”exercise and a waste of ratepayer money to go through the recruitment process only to have an administrator installed.

“[Even if the merger does not go ahead] the Act will require us later to go through a costly exercise to recruit the permanent CEO,” Liberal Cr Brad Luke said.“Most people would expect to know the result of the merger proposal soon. We might be appointing someone for literally a month or two.”

Cr Sharon Waterhouse (Liberal) questioned the quality of the external candidates that would apply given the uncertain timeframe.

Cr Nelmes admitted that the council could have started the recruitment process earlier but expressed frustration they had been led to believe a merger announcement was imminent.

“We need to protect ourselves…we could be sitting here in 12 months time having the same conversation.”

Crs Nelmes, Michael Osborne (Greens), and Andrea Rufo (Independent) will be on the merit-based recruitment panel, which will meet no later than November 4.

INCOMING: Director of Planning and Regulatory Peter Chrystal was appointed the new interim CEO of Newcastle Council on Tuesday night, becoming the eighth person to take on the top job in ten years.

Meat allergy phenomenon linked to tick bites

Janelle Williams has a mammalian meat allergy, which she developed after a tick bite. Photo: Nick MoirJanelle Williams knew nothing about allergies or anaphylaxis when she walked into her doctor’s practice five years ago, covered in hives, eyes swollen shut and struggling to breathe.
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She certainly didn’t connect her predicament to the meat she had eaten the night before or the ticks that had bitten her in the grass around her Freshwater home.

The surgery was in panic mode, her GP was yelling for somebody to call an ambulance, and she wondered briefly who was in trouble.

Then she realised it was her.

“I’d never had an allergic reaction before, no hay fever, nothing,” Ms Williams said.

“I was totally naive when I started having breathing problems how quickly it could escalate to your throat closing.”

An allergy test six weeks later would reveal an insidious culprit in mammalian meat, which extended not just to beef, lamb and pork, but products made with animal products such as dairy, wine and fruit juice, as well as gel tablets, toothpaste, bandaids and tampons.

“There’s just a whole range –you have no idea.I had to basically clean out my entire house.”

Two months ago, she went into anaphylaxis after breathing in the fumes of beefserved in a plane.

Mammalian meat is one of many strange allergens that have surfaced in recent decades, but its even more bizarre trigger –tick bites –could hold the key to a cure.

Mammalian meat allergyhas become more common since it was first reported in theJournal of Internal Medicinein 2007, and nowhere more so than the eastern seaboard of Australia.

In thetickendemic areas of the Sydney basin it is a more common food allergy thanpeanut allergy, with one in 550 people developing the condition in the northern metropolitan region.

Tick-induced Allergies Research and Awareness Centre immunologist Sheryl van Nunen made the connection between ticks and meatafter noticing a trend of people admitted to hospital overnight with anaphylaxis, who developed reactions tothe moleculealpha-gal in prick testsand had recently been bitten by the parasite.

The Australian paralysis tick. Photo: Stephen Doggett NSW Health Pathology

She hopes that the cause-and-effect relationship between tick bites and a meat allergy could hold valuable clues to the causes of allergies generally.

“There’s no other allergy as far as food goes where we know why you became allergic to it,” Associate Professor van Nunen said.

“So we’ve got anunparalleledopportunity for both primary and secondary prevention of mammalian meat allergy.”

Alpha-gal is a combination sugar molecule found in all mammals apart from humans and old apes, but it is harmless when introduced orally because people have learnt to be tolerant to it.

But when it is injected into a human withthe saliva of a tick that has picked it up from a mammal such as a deer, kangaroo or bandicoot, the body detects it as a foreign substance.

In some people, this process seemsto reprogram their immune systems to detect the alpha-galas an enemy the next time they meetit at the end of their fork.

Some research has shown that the number of bandicoot sightings has increased since fox baiting was permitted in2003, which Associate Professor van Nunen points out was around the time that meat allergy started to be notified.

Some people lose the allergy after a few years if they have no further tick bites, but in others it appears to get worse.

The best prevention is to wear long clothes and insect repellent and avoid being bitten at all. If you arebitten, the tick should be removed with wart freeze rather than disturbed, which is when it releases its saliva.

It should not be squeezed or removed with tweezers, Associate Professor van Nunen said.

Shelley Peat’s daughter, Ella Bennett, was one of the first people in whom meat allergy was linked to tick bites.

Now 16, she developed the allergy when she was four, while attending a preschoolon the northern beaches where ticks were plentiful.

“The last time she went to that preschool she would have had 100 ticks on her body,” Ms Peat said.

“I told the preschool they needed to do something about it and they said, ‘Oh, we’ve got lavender around the property’.”

Recently Ella’s allergy seemed to worsen– she has developed a reaction to barbecue fumes –but it has reduced in Ms Peat’s son, Kobi Bennett, 14, who thinks he is now clear.

“But he’s unwilling to have a bite of bacon.”

First appeared SMH

Bitter and twisted; a toast to beer

Celebration: Snapshot from a previous Bitter & Twisted Festival.
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THIStime next weekend beer lovers will descend upon Maitland Gaol to honour, once again, the beverage world’s most renowned awesome foursome – grain, hops, yeast and water.

On November 5 and 6the Bitter & Twisted Boutique Beer Festival will celebrate 10years of showcasing some of Australia’s best sherbets and suds, including local legends Dusty Miner, Foghorn, and Murray’s, who have been involved with the festival from the beginning. Other brewers attendinginclude The Pourhouse, Lovedale, Morpeth Beer, Hunter Beer, Hunter United home brew club, Hope, Nomad, Modus Operandi, Australian Brewery, Six String, Rocks, Young Henrys, Stockade Brew and The Grain Store (VIP area).

“Murray’s have always been big supporter of the festival and we’re very pleased to still be showcasing our range of beers, as well as a few new ones, at Bitter and Twisted 10years on,” Murray’s brewerAlex Tucker says.

There is more to behold than just the taste of beer, withplenty of food stalls, including Voodoo Burgers and the Bao Brothers, creating many delicious dishes to accompany a few cold ones, as well local wines from Tamburlaine, Drayton’sand Tulloch.

“It’s incredible to think the event is in its 10th year and it’s a credit to the many people including our volunteers that have helped make Bitter and Twisted what it is today,” event coordinatorAdam Franks says.

Kids are welcome, especially on Sunday, when family friendly activities will take place in a dedicated area of the gaol.

Tickets for Saturday have sold out. Pre-purchasetickets for Sunday are available online. There will be a limited number of tickets available on the day of the event.

Go forth and froth!

Bitter & Twisted Festival, Maitland Gaol, John Street, Maitland, November 5 and 6.Bitter &Twisted coordinator Adam Franks

Wallabies rookie Kyle Godwin backs coach Michael Cheika ahead of spring tour

Wallabies newcomer Kyle Godwin has thrown his support behind embattled Australian coach Michael Cheika following his selection in the 32-man spring touring party which leaves for England on Friday.
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Godwin joins former Melbourne Storm winger Marika Koroibete and NSW Country teammate Tolu Latu as potential debutants selected by Cheika, three days after the Wallabies’ 37-10 Bledisloe Cup loss was overshadowed by the coach’s post-match rant at the New Zealand media.

Cheika’s comments were aimed at a New Zealand newspaper after it published a cartoon of him dressed as a clown, before All Blacks coach Steve Hansen weighed in by telling his counterpart to “stop whining”.

Hansen has since suggested he and Cheika have a beer together to sort out their “frosty” relationship.

Godwin said he was unaware of the clown cartoon when it was originally published, as he was focused on the weekend’s National Rugby Championships grand final won by Perth Spirit.

But the inside centre, who will play for the Brumbies in next year’s Super Rugby competition after five seasons with the Western Force, expected Cheika and the Wallabies to bounce back in Europe.

“I’ve had a couple of tours with ‘Cheik’, he’s an unbelievable coach and the boys have all got massive respect for him and I do as well,” Godwin said.

“He’s got the boys together. To learn off him and obviously play for him, I’m thoroughly looking forward to that.

“They [the Wallabies] have had a bit of a tough year but they’re doing a great job. They’re really striving to have a successful grand slam and hopefully we can have the wins that we need on the tour.”

Wallabies coach unimpressed: The New Zealand Herald sports back page of Michael Cheika as a clown. Photo: Supplied

Godwin is yet to speak with Cheika following his selection in the touring party, informed instead via email on Monday night in a message that outlined the “big challenge” the squad was facing.

The goal is a second grand slam against the four home nations, despite Australia’s recent record of just three wins in its past 11 games dating back to last year’s World Cup final loss to New Zealand.

Only once has Australia beaten England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales on a spring tour, back in 1984, and Godwin said repeating that feat was the target.

“We’re certainly telling that to ourselves and the team,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s a massive challenge but we’re looking forward to that challenge and hopefully we can achieve it.”

Godwin travelled to Europe with the Wallabies two years ago, but didn’t earn his debut Test cap.

Next month he’ll be aiming to force his way into the No.12 jersey, or at the very least claim a spot on the bench.

Bernard Foley and Reece Hodge have played at inside centre in recent times, but it’s a position that has caused Cheika much chagrin in 2016.

Injuries have sidelined Matt Giteau and Matt Toomua, while Christian Lealiifano is undergoing treatment for leukaemia.

Centre Samu Kerevi was injured in Saturday’s loss to the All Blacks and will miss the tour to have ankle surgery.

The Wallabies’ first assignment next month is against Wales at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, a side that will include England-based players George North and Jamie Roberts.

Welshmen Ross Moriarty, Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris are therefore also available for selection, but Taulupe Faletau is injured and will miss the Wallabies game.

English Premiership rules would normally prevent players from contesting internationals at this time of year, given they fall outside of the World Rugby Test window, but premiership clubs have agreed to a “one-off” policy change.

“This comes as we continue deliberations on a new post-2019 global season structure to find an appropriate balance between club and international rugby,” a Premiership rugby spokesman said.

“We are showing flexibility to help a number of unions who have decided to play on this particular weekend but we must stress this is a one-off variation to the allowed window while discussions continue.”

Wallabies 32-man squad: Allan Alaalatoa (5 Tests), Rory Arnold (6 Tests), Adam Coleman (7 Tests), Quade Cooper (64 Tests), Kane Douglas (28 Tests), Scott Fardy (37 Tests), Israel Folau (48 Tests), Bernard Foley (37 Tests), Nick Frisby (3 Tests), Will Genia (72 Tests), Kyle Godwin*, James Hanson (12 Tests), Dane Haylett-Petty (10 Tests), Reece Hodge (6 Tests), Michael Hooper (61 Tests), Sekope Kepu (73 Tests), Marika Koroibete*, Tevita Kuridrani (40 Tests), Tolu Latu*, Sean McMahon (12 Tests), Stephen Moore (c) (112 Tests), Dean Mumm (53 Tests), Sefanaia Naivalu (2 Tests), Nick Phipps (48 Tests), David Pocock (61 Tests), Tom Robertson (4 Tests), Rob Simmons (66 Tests), Scott Sio (25 Tests), Will Skelton (16 Tests), Henry Speight (6 Tests), James Slipper (82 Tests), Lopeti Timani (3 Tests).

*denotes uncapped player

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.