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
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.
A makeshift memorial to Eurydice Dixon at Princes Park on June 16.
August 8, 2018
Reading the poem Eurydice to her students unleashed surprising emotions for Stephanie Trigg. But literature works in mysterious, unpredictable ways - highlighting the impossibility of trigger warnings.
The Meg: Jaws, but considerably larger.
August 9, 2018
The latest scary shark film, The Meg, opens this week. But fictionalised tales of monster fish blind us to the important role sharks play in maintaining the health of our oceans.
Bardal, from Norwegian Sublime, Ellen Marie Saethre-McGuirk, 2018.
Ellen Marie Saethre-McGuirk
August 12, 2018
Our use of social media platforms such as Instagram is changing our relationship to nature, and – at least for now – not necessarily for the better.
Still from '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)
Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey broke all the rules of science fiction cinema, and allowed the audience to experience a uniquely philosophical film about the evolution of human consciousness.
Giovanni Lanfranco’s Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre (1624): in many societies giants were long part of received wisdom.
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.
Trump Baby flies over Parliament Square in July during President Trump’s visit to the UK.
August 1, 2018
The art of protest
Trump Baby is the latest in a long history of visual protests. But is this 'cheap shot street theatre' truly effective, or should we ask more of protest artists?
Detail from Little Big Woman: Condescension, Debra Keenahan, 2017.
Designed and made by Debra Keenahan, Photograph by Robert Brindley., Author provided (No reuse)
The female dwarf, disability, and beauty.
The Conversation, CC BY 23.2 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
August 2, 2018
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’.
August 3, 2018
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
August 1, 2018
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
July 30, 2018
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
August 2, 2018
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.
In 1988, The Age was ranked the most influential institution in Melbourne.
The Age Charter of Editorial Independence – the first document of its type in Australia – first emerged in 1988. It was defended time and again over the following three decades.
Traditional support networks too often fail our artists.
July 31, 2018
Life as an artist
The performing arts is the canary in the coalmine of the gig economy.
Dancers in Opera Australia’s 2018 production of Aida at the Sydney Opera House.
Opera Australia's new production of Aida features movable LED panels with digital scenery. It's part of a revolution transforming the art form.
India Henry after getting to the end of the course in Australian Ninja Warrior.
Screenshot from Youtube
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.
Dame Edna Everage is the drag persona of Barry Humphries.
There is still a lot of misunderstanding about what being transgender means and how it relates to drag.
Have you seen a mermaid?
August 1, 2018
Mythology and legend
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.
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.