Monday, 25 July 2016

Dalmatians out west: music, dance, social occasions and weddings

Now on in the J.T. Diamond Room, Waitakere Central Library is our Dalmatians out west exhibition. The exhibition features images from Auckland’s Dalmatian community and will run until 30 August 2016.

This is the second in a series of blog posts based on the themes in the exhibition.

Music, dance, social occasions and weddings

Music and dance were mostly the domain of the two Yugoslav organisations, the Yugoslav Club Inc., and the Yugoslav Benevolent Society (The Croatian Benevolent Society).  Annual Ballroom competitions were conducted and cups were given out to the best foxtrot, waltz and tango dancers. 

Ref: Sisters Danica and Fleur Martinovich dressed for the ball in dresses they made themselves, 1946. West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries. DGHS Collection.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial

The Women’s Suffrage mural in Khartoum Place celebrates suffragettes who fought for women’s franchise in New Zealand – which they won in 1893, and women in this country became the first in the world to gain the vote. Artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison designed the 2,000 bright tiles of the mural marking the centenary of this achievement. A Navy band led over 300 guests down Queen Street for the 1993 opening, and the Air Force hung a cargo parachute across Khartoum Place which dropped at the exact dramatic moment for the unveiling by Irish President Mary Robinson and Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard.

Ref: Auckland Council, Khartoum Place pre-1993.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Bernard & Picart's Ceremonies: the book that changed Europe

The ceremonies and religious customs of the various nations of the known world was the first book to compare the world’s religions in a way that encouraged tolerance and has recently been called 'The book that changed Europe'.

The ceremonies and religious customs was illustrated by Bernard Picart and written and published in Amsterdam by Jean Frederic Bernard between 1723 and 1737.

Better known as Picart’s Ceremonies it is a beautifully illustrated seven volume work with over 260 plates of engravings by Picart who was one of the most famous engravers and book-illustrators of the time. Much of the text that accompanies these images was written by Jean Frederic Bernard, a successful book publisher, although his name never appeared on any of the editions.

What made this such a revolutionary work was that Bernard & Picart try to present as positive a version of other beliefs to the European readers. To achieve this they focus on ritual rather than discussions of doctrine. The illustrations depict events familiar to all humanity, rituals for births, deaths, marriages and processions.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Maps to the stars

Many of us will be star-gazing this month as we celebrate the rising of the constellation Matariki (also known as Pleiades) which signifies New Year in the Māori calendar. Looking up at the sky from the southern Hemisphere vantage point, many of us may know a few major constellations like Matariki, the Southern Cross and Orion (down under, this is known more often as the Pot or the Saucepan). A trip to an observatory or some Googling might help us identify a few more, or we may even find a book at our local library such as one of these: