I was returning to Australia in July for a second time and wanted a new adventure. I previously spent a month as an artist in residence at Australia National University in Canberra and a week in Sydney about 4 years ago. Prior to this visit to present a paper at Stepping Up: The Australian Ceramics Triennale in Canberra, I sought the advice of my friend Vipoo Srivilasa from Melbourne about an interesting place to visit. He recommended Hobart, Tasmania and I have him to thank for a wonderful experience.
Besides being a port town with a mountain looming inland, it is both quaint and contemporary. I arrived in time for the Salamanca Saturday Market and was able to see a great deal of local handmade and grown products. I spent the second day taking the special ferry that goes to MONA – Museum of New and Old Art. It was a great way to see the city from the sea. The museum is on 3 levels dug into the native limestone. The owner has vineyards with a winery and a variety of restaurants on site. The collection is eclectic at best, some good, some not so good. There was a fantastic Marina Abramović retrospective (I experienced her project space and residency and saw her in the flesh on my one night stop over in Sydney). Overall, it was one of the more interesting museum experiences I have ever had.
I was determined to see a Tasmanian devil and I was able to take a tour bus to a local zoo/refuge for them, kangaroos and even large cats. These “little devils” have all but been wiped out by tumors of the mouth. These refuges are helping to reestablish them in the wild. I have to say, they are cute at first look, but quickly turn nasty and hiss and bite at each other. Next stop, Stepping Up in Canberra!