Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Multicultural Melbourne

I hope you had a great long weekend away or here in Melbourne with festival season upon us and beautiful warm days.  I've been out and about the past week or so visiting clients as well as catching up with friends and family over the weekend.
Interior - Short Round cafe, Thornbury
I'm about to do a little bit of work for Crisalida multidisciplinary health clinic in Thornbury and while I was out there today meeting my client, we went across the road to the relatively new Short Round cafe for lunch which was great - I had the Zucchini hash with poached eggs and smoked trout and the coffee is good if a little on the strong side.  The lucky residents of Thornbury have a beautiful village on High Street with lots of interesting businesses, shops and cafes.  Before we moved to Rosanna from Brunswick, Mr R and I actually looked at Preston and Thornbury but ended up deciding to move further afield to be closer to parkland.
While I was out in Thornbury, I took the opportunity to have a look at the newly opened Islamic Museum of Australia in Anderson Road.  Similar to my client The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham (which I visited last week to see Diverse/City: Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Melbourne), they are located near a commercial/industrial estate but are also a lovely oasis in the midst of it all - a real hidden gem.  There was a rowdy group of Muslim school children having an excursion there when I arrived but I have to say how warmly welcome I was made to feel not only by the staff there, but also the teachers and students who were visiting.
It's very much a contemporary building using an Australian Islamic context both externally and internally with the nature of the exhibits.  There are three galleries downstairs and two upstairs plus other workshop/theatre spaces and an Islamic cafe at the back for refreshments.  In particular, the writer in me loved the Arabic light projection in the first gallery (above) as well as the Islamic Art section which housed both the traditional decorative arts which I have long had a passion for, and the more contemporary visual arts.  The Abdul Abdullah portrait of Waleed Aly takes prime position at the back of this section along with Islamic art on surfboards as the centrepiece!  Other contemporary visual arts can also be found in there and behind while upstairs, there is a gallery section I also loved dedicated to Islamic Architecture and the different mosques in the Middle East - some of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.
It's important to note that this museum has sought to make some key statements about the nature of Islam and its links with Judaism and Christianity (and the joint values we share as people), as well as equality for women within the Islamic faith.  Its tone is very much about inclusivity, awareness, understanding and the wealth of skills and knowledge that Islamic people have brought to Australia and the rest of the world.
I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked but also wanted to mention while I'm on the subject of different cultures, that there is also the longstanding Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda which I neglected to mention in my little round up Living together the other week.

No comments:

Post a Comment