Sidney Nolan’s Steve Hart dressed as a girl 1947 from the Ned Kelly series 1946 – 1947 enamel paint on composition board 90.60 x 121.10 cm. Gift of Sunday Reed 1977 National Gallery of Australia

Art

Here’s looking at: Steve Hart dressed as a girl, 1947 by Sidney Nolan

As a bushranger in the Kelly gang, Steve Hart took to dressing as a woman and riding side-saddle to avoid detection. Sidney Nolan's painting captures Hart's adolescent cockiness, bravery, and foolhardy bluster.
Giovanni Lanfranco’s Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre (1624): in many societies giants were long part of received wisdom. Wikimedia Commons

Mythology

Giants: why we needed them

Tales of giants can be found around the world - in Wales, in Australia, and the Pacific Islands. They helped people explain the sometimes cataclysmic changes to the environment they saw around them.
Detail from Little Big Woman: Condescension, Debra Keenahan, 2017. Designed and made by Debra Keenahan, Photograph by Robert Brindley., Author provided (No reuse)

Podcast

Essays On Air: The female dwarf, disability, and beauty

The female dwarf, disability, and beauty. The Conversation, CC BY23.2 MB (download)
For centuries, women with dwarfism were depicted in art as comic or grotesque fairytale beings. But artists are challenging these portrayals and notions of beauty and physical difference.
Detail from Julie Shiels’ 1954 poster White on black: The annihilation of Aboriginal people and their culture cannot be separated from the destruction of nature. State Library of Victoria

Friday essay

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

It is 50 years since anthropologist WEH Stanner gave the Boyer Lectures in which he coined the phrase 'the great Australian silence'. How far have we come since?
After Germaine Greer was apparently uninvited from the Brisbane Writers Festival, author Richard Flanagan questioned whether the festival was giving into the social media ‘mob’.

Public debate

Writers’ festivals aren’t an imaginary republic of letters – they are political arenas

The republic of letters was an intellectual community that took shape in the Enlightenment. And just like writers' festivals, it had rules about who could speak.
A bough shelter made for the funeral of W. Willika in the remote Northern Territory community of Barunga. Photo: Claire Smith

Archaeology

A grave omission: the quest to identify the dead in remote NT

In remote Northern Territory, most Aboriginal people have been buried in unmarked graves. Archaelogists are carrying out painstaking detective work to help communities find their loved ones' remains.
Kaya Scodelario as Catherine Earnshaw in the 2011 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Film 4 and UK Film Council/IMDB

Doomed love

Why Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a cult classic

This week is the 200th anniversary of Emily Bronte's birth. If reading Wuthering Heights - her only published novel - feels like a suspension in a state of waking nightmare, what a richly-hued vision of the fantastical it is.
Although the show was rightly criticised for its lack of diversity, the First Slayer - she who begat all future slayers, including Buffy - was black. 20th Century Fox/IMDB

Buffy reboot

A revamped Buffy could rectify the original Slayer’s problem with race

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a cult classic, was a series with a diversity problem. News of a new season provides an opportunity for a different kind of storytelling.
India Henry after getting to the end of the course in Australian Ninja Warrior. Screenshot from Youtube

TV

Australian Ninja Warrior and the death of style and grace in sport

Ninja Warrior is the latest attempt to appropriate an ancient artform for a mass audience. But the ancient ninja moved in silence. Anonymous, he never bothered to develop signature dance moves.
Have you seen a mermaid? Shutterstock

Mythology and legend

Curious Kids: Are mermaids real?

Even if mermaids aren't real, they'll likely feature in human stories for many years to come. Very few mythical creatures are found in so many diverse cultures, across so many years without changing.
Ivy Emms with the man she married, Jack Bent, on a music catalogue for the song Just a Ray of Sunlight. After performing patriotic songs as a child in popular pantomimes, Emms later worked as a choreographer at Melbourne’s Tivoli Theatre. NLA

Theatre

From child stars to lost theatres: capturing our ephemeral history of live performance

More than 100,000 records of live performance are on a database of our theatre history. They tell of corroborees, the first play staged by white settlers, and long-gone gracious theatres.

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