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October 6, 2017

Authenticity Sept 2017

Ali Scan

Allan Mitelman Paintings MARS Gallery 23 September to 14 October 2017

The opening at MARS Gallery on Saturday 23 September epitomised the delight of a very familiar Melbourne art scene. With lots of old remembered faces going back through decades of artistic achievements.

The enigmatic Allan Mitelman has been a well loved and admired practitioner and nurturer of the arts. He never names any of his paintings – all of them are untitled.
I decided after viewing his latest exhibition of paintings that I would personally call his exhibition luminous solitude because that is the emotion they created in me.

I find his paintings sing, soar and descend. They glitter like coloured stones. They are like the contemplative silence after the feasting. 

The detail and nuance is somewhat lost when Allan’s work is photographed

 On Sunday 24 September we went to see I am not Your Negro a powerful disturbing and confronting movie that challenges your complacency, takes you out of your comfort zone and demonstrates how we are blind to things we do not wish to see.

This film is based on the notes and letters written by James Baldwin made for his book Remember this House. Baldwin is a compassionate, articulate, brilliant writer and essayist. He chose to be a witness to write the story of Black America – the message is universal.


Selma, Montgomery 1965 – Martin Luther King in middle

Through out the movie Baldwin’s presence in his 60s suit, thin black tie, the ever present cigarette in his elegant fingers, talks with conviction and passion. By examining and showing us graphic images of the lives of Black Americans from lynching to police brutality the film maker, Raoul Peck, highlights what Baldwin describes as the “moral apathy” of most white Americans. He examines the concept that in the mindset of most white Americans the black man signifies terror” or “dread” yet he suggests there is nothing to support this notion – “but it seems its ever present in white America’s minds”. This is still true despite the 400 years of black oppression.

Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Black Muslim lead

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

In an interview in the film Baldwin mentions, “I forgot who said human beings can’t take too much reality (in fact it’s a quote from TS Elliot’s Part 1 of Burnt Norton). In the same interview he articulates the psychology of the reality or fantasy of black/ white relations – it’s chilling.


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