Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday Afternoon in Darwin

My last two days in Darwin I spent getting myself organized for the long trip back, catching up on my last few blog entries, and just exploring Darwin a bit more.
I wandered around checking out some of the galleries downtown Darwin, enjoying some of the beautiful artwork I saw - both the desert style dot paintings, as well as the Arnhemland and Tiwi Island style with the cross hatching.

I did a bit of painting myself Saturday and Sunday, just dappling a bit really - I have so much inspiration from this trip, that I have a hard time distilling it out so I can put it on paper - but I can feel I am processing, and hopefully I will soon be ready to really get going.

I had still not visited the Darwin Art Museum, so that, as well as a visit to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, was on my agenda for Sunday afternoon.
I caught a city-bus out to the Museum, and spent a couple of hours engrossed in the lovely exhibits of Aboriginal Art, and then I moved on to the other exhibits of the geology, flora and fauna of the Top End, as well as the exhibit about Cyclone Tracy, which pretty much wiped Darwin out on Christmas Eve, 1974. I tried to think back, but I really have no recollection of hearing of those events at the time.
After enjoying an iced coffee and the views from the Cornucopia Café at the museum, I wandered along the path over to the Mindil Market. The area was familiar, because it was the very same path I had biked on earlier in the week, but instead of the empty parking lot under the shade trees at Mindil Beach, it was full of booths and food stalls, and the Darwinians were out in full force enjoying a lovely Sunday afternoon strolling along the booths, shopping, eating and just relaxing.
Earlier as I had walked down to the bus terminal, I had noticed how peaceful and deserted downtown Darwin seemed - most stores were closed - a real old-fashioned "Sunday" feel, which you don't experience in the States anymore, as most stores are open 7-days a week.
There were all the usual things you find at markets everywhere nowadays at the Mindil market, but I was drawn to a couple of art booths with aboriginal paintings - and watched for a while as the artists were painting. I was especially fascinated by an artist, Rhonda Wygunja, who was painting in the traditional Arnhemland style along with her 2 young sons and her husband. I chatted a bit with them, and learned they were regulars at the market. Of course, I ended up buying the small painting Rhonda was working on - Crocodile Dreaming - it will be a nice memory of the wonderful time I have had up here in the "Top End".

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