Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Old and New Work

"A Hat of Many Dreams" exhibition has closed last month but the project will keep on going. Please contact me if you are interested in being a sitter.
I have received so many great comments and the positive feedback was extremely rewarding. I have even received inquiries about the possibility of turning it into a book. This has been on my list, as a second step after the exhibition and I am currently looking at ways of making it happen. For everyone living interstate or abroad, and of course, for everyone wanting to see the portraits again, I have put together a little video. Keep checking on the blog, as I will be adding more stories shortly. Thank you for your continuous support. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Stories Keeper

- "My innermost dream is to see all my five children succeed and be successful in anything they chose to be in life. I want to be there to support them, as well as enjoy their success. 
I want to be able to look after my entire family and country and to live a healthy life. My other dream is to be able to travel and learn as much as I can from other cultures. I love sharing our Indigenous stories but at the same time, I want to meet people from all walks of life and listen to their stories as well.  There are so many people coming to Australia, travelling, but I would like to go to their countries, learn about their Land".

It was a very foggy day when I met up with Lisa to record her story. 
Previously, I was told and I read a lot about the spiritual connection with the Land, yet only that day I was truly able to witness it and understand its meaning. In five years since I have been at my local school, I have never seen one single black cockatoo. Yet when we met, there were so many of them. They all flew above us, as we were walking through the mist and Lisa was telling me that her totem animal is the Emu.

I asked Lisa to share with me her ancestry.
Lisa’ s lineage is very complex and it comes from the Eora (mother), Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi (great great parent), Urallyie (father) and Malingarie (grandfather) people.

Our youngest children have been best friends since preschool and we became friends too. The first things I noticed about Lisa were her smile and the fact that she always had a good word for everyone. She calls me sister, for which I feel incredibly honoured.
As we spent time together, we discovered a mutually shared passion for arts and for nature walks. Sharing ideas from recent artworks we made, we found many similarities between the Indigenous and the traditional Romanian art. Upon parting that day, we agreed to work on a collaborative piece in the near future, combining techniques, ideas and symbols from two ancient cultures that are so different, yet so similar.

- “When I was a young child, I wanted to become a Vet. I wanted to work with animals but it didn’t happen; I soon realised I couldn’t deal with the harsh side of the job. I couldn’t put them down; I wanted to keep them all alive; I couldn’t bring myself to take a life.

My first favourite story is a Dreamtime story about how the emu got her feathers and why she cannot fly. I would have been around 9 or 10 years of age by then and we were sitting around the fire at an aboriginal camp, roasting marshmallows and potatoes. I loved hearing this story.  Then I found out that she was my totem animal.

When I came out of high school, I wanted to travel the Land and learn about my culture, my people and about the language that was denied to us back then. A lot of it was lost, unfortunately. 
My dream was to be a journalist and to work in broadcast. I have been doing radio programs since I was 12 years old. My mother moved to Canberra for work and that’s when she met my step father. He introduced me to broadcasting and Indigenous media and taught me the ins and outs of radio.

Who I am now? I am a single mother of five, a proud Indigenous woman and a daughter.
I am an artist connecting with the others through my art. I love to tell the world about our culture. I am still learning about the language and the culture myself and I will probably always be learning.

I once was an actor too; before I had my children, I did several feature films, a mini-series and documentaries.
I am a person very connected to nature; I used to be a Discovery Ranger in Sydney at the Royal National park and a Visitor Service Officer with Parks and Wildlife at Nelson Bay.
In the future, I would like to work here at Tidbinbilla; I was just about to start working with them, but at the moment I am the full-time carer for my mother.

I love being an artist and I enjoy exploring many artistic directions, trying to learn and to understand my potential. I paint, I love sketching, making designs and decorative art, I do ceramics and sewing. Last year I have enrolled in an Art Program at CIT’s Yurauna Centre. Now my eldest daughter is studying there as well. She is very talented and I am so proud to see her achievements.
I do like who I am in life. I recently had to slow down a bit, being a carer, but I enjoy it.
I have to give my time to my family, as they come first.

 - My innermost dream is to see all my five children succeed and be successful in anything they chose to be in life. I want to be there to support them, as well as enjoy their success. I have a few dreams actually – I would really like to find love again and give my children that father they would like to have. My son keeps telling me he wants a father – I tell him he has to wait for now. I want to be able to look after my entire family and country and to live a healthy life. My other dream is to be able to travel and learn as much as I can from other cultures. I love sharing our Indigenous stories but at the same time, I want to meet people from all walks of life and listen to their stories as well.  There are so many people coming to Australia, travelling, but I would like to go to their countries, learn about their Land.

My children and my family keep me going. They motivate me in everything I do. Meeting nice people and being happy with the human race is also a good motivation.
The most important motivator of all is Spirituality, the Creator of Earth who made us, the humans and the Land. The Land is our mother, the Sky is our father – that goes from way, way back in the Dream Time. I believe in protecting all creatures, great or small; we are the guardians and we need to protect them. That’s why we Indigenous people are the carers of the Land. We are just passing through, doing our deeds, looking after them.  
If I ever had 15 minutes of fame, that’s how I would use it; to protect the Land.

In five years’ time, I see myself hopefully married and happy, maybe even with some grandchildren on my side. I will still be sharing stories, still learning. I would still be meeting positive people; I don’t like being around negative energy. I will be still the same – keep on smiling, being healthy and eating the right food; I would go walkabout, learning more about my culture, learning how to live off the land more, hunting and fishing.

- The first role models I had were my mother, my aunties and the Elders. They brought me up and taught me how to live a good life. Especially my mother – she has been through so much in life, yet she held her own. In a way, my step father was a role model too – he filled the father figure gap for me. But then I got to see the other side of him too, which wasn’t a good one. Unfortunately, I learned about domestic violence at an early age. – there is very little said about domestic violence and I think that’s not good enough. I think we have to talk about these things; it has to be heard because nothing will change if we don’t speak up.

Nowadays, my children are my role models. They have changed me and my life for the better. I learn a lot from them; they are the first ones to tell me when I am wrong. I am also inspired by people who had a hard upbringing but become successful and turned their life around and have a great career. I look up to people like Dolly Parton or Elvis – they did something with their life.

My favourite stories are the stories of other people. I love hearing their tales – they are living stories. Their survival and their journey through life - that’s what inspires me. Their legacy - those are the people that are strong, the people who survive through hardship, domestic violence and abuse and then succeed in life.

My biggest regret in life is choosing the wrong man to be my children’s father. He put me through a lot of violence and I had to put a stop to it in the end. Never again will I go down that road in life. No women or men or children should go through this. You should break the chains and set yourself free.

I feel at peace when I am with the Land and the good people and when I am near the water – the sea, the rivers or the waterfalls.
If I had to define myself in one world, it would be “unifier”. I am a person that unites others and gathers strength from everything and everyone around.

Both success and failure motivate me equally. If I fail, then there is a lesson, I learn and I move on but I think it’s important to have success in one’s life too; I pick myself up on my feet and keep going. If one gets knocked down too much, that’s not good. It becomes hard to keep motivated but it helps when you keep positive about it; you start a brand-new day and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Art Lover

"My innermost dream is to stay just as I am, keep doing what I am doing, continuing on my path. I don’t think I have any other dream that comes clear into mind.
My motivation comes from the joy I take from what people make. I greatly admire creative people - not just visual artists but makers/creators across every discipline"
I have been reading (and enjoying) Peter's art reviews for years; but it was only last year that I met him in person. 
Last year, I became a member of Strathnairn Arts Association and for the first time, I was sitting the Woolshed Gallery and finalised the votes for the popular "Squares" competition. As we counted the last votes, I got to know him better and I was very impressed to find out  that he was not only a great art historian, but he had a classical education encompassing French, German and classic languages such as Greek and Hebrew. 
Later on, I was lucky to have his expertise on putting together two shows. 
How do you choose only ten images, from a vast archive of photos? Ten images that would say what you want them to say about yourself as an artist, but they will also work well with each other. I was stumped. I didn't have the answer, but Peter did. And when he was done, I could see the logic in his choices. 

 - "There are many hats I wear during a day. I am a partner, a critic, a writer, a consultant (I am Curatorial Advisor for the Ginninderry Project), an art historian and I am currently the Director of Strathnairn Arts Association.
Out of all these, my favourite is being a partner. I see myself very much as being one of the team of two. It's the most important thing in my life, with the addition of work. I would hate not working. 
The balance between work life and emotional life works really well; I found it late though.

As a young child, I love reading more than anything. I probably was a weird child; my favourite book was a book of ancient history that I got for Christmas when I was 5 years old. My mother was a great reader and she instilled the love for books in us.

I read the Bible entirely when I was 6 years old, much to my whole’s family despair, because I would never shut up. I don't think I understood it but I read all the time and I kept my mind busy with all sorts of books. We had a 30-volume encyclopaedia and I would get a couple out and sit in the lounge, leafing through them. The pictures were all black and white and I still remember this black and white image by Cormon (a 19th-c French painter) of Neanderthal people or more exactly what he thought Neanderthal people looked like. The images were always fascinating to me, as was the text. But I think the images were really special.
Even now, I read everything. I think anyone writing needs to read a lot.

I didn't have a desire to be anything in particular, until I was well into my secondary school studies when I made up my mind that I wanted to be an anthropological linguist.
In primary school, I had a teacher who encouraged me to pursue languages, and in high school we studied the history of the English language and I loved it. I was very interested in how languages evolve.

After school I enrolled in Anthropology; French, German and English but decided to defer my studies and took a year off. I worked with the Public Service in Sydney and returned to Sydney Uni after a year or so. As I was doing an Arts degree (as opposed to Law, Medicine or whatever) I decided that I would study what I liked rather than anything that would offer career possibilities. Over the next few years I studied Archaeology, English, French, German, Classical Greek and Hebrew, Biblical Studies and Ancient History with majors in English Literature and Archaeology. I took Archaeology at Honours level and really enjoyed it, seeing it as where I might make a career. I was particularly interested in Greek ceramics and on completion of my undergraduate degree was to do graduate work on black-figure vases in Australian collections. I was also looking to perhaps study overseas and particularly in America. For a number of reasons I did not pursue overseas study. I also decided that I needed to broaden my knowledge and understanding of art beyond the ancient and much to my professor’s dismay, gave up my graduate work on Greek vases.
I also began a Dip.Ed. at the Sydney Teachers’ College thinking I would get a job but my studies there were short – 3 weeks. 
I hated it. I needed a job and returned to the Public Service as a graduate clerk. Initially, I worked with the Department of Education but was quickly moved to the newly-formed Australia Council to work as a Project Officer with the Visual Arts Board. The “powers that be” in the Public Service hierarchy didn’t quite know what to do with an Honours graduate in Archaeology! My time with the Australia Council was amazing and further reinforced my desire to return to university and study art history, which I did the following year. 
I was also kept on at the Australia Council, this time as a Project Officer for the Music Board where I worked part-time while studying Fine Arts at Sydney University. I returned to full-time study and completed another Honours degree, this time in Fine Arts. 
I subsequently taught art history at a number of institutions including the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the National Art School before moving to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where as well as lecturing to tertiary groups and the public I curated a number of exhibitions. I also studied for an MA in English Literature which I really enjoyed although the work-life balance was somewhat askew!

I moved to Canberra in 1981 to take up the position of Curator of Exhibitions at the (then) Canberra School of Art. It was a great job working with practitioners and with contemporary art involving a wide range of media. Art history as taught in those days rarely if ever moved beyond painting, sculpture, printmaking and architecture, so having to look at ceramics, textiles, glass, and woodwork, as well as painting, sculpture and printmaking was a delight. I also taught art history and theory and introduced the first courses in contemporary art.

I became very involved with the Canberra arts scene and took an active role on a number of boards including the Arts Council, vis-à-vis dance company, CAPO and the Canberra Contemporary Art Space. I was part of a small group that lobbied for the establishment of the CCA and was the first Chair of that organisation. I enjoyed my work very much but personally my first few years here were not fulfilling.

Following almost 9 years at the Art School I left to go into partnership with Solander Gallery, then Canberra’s leading private gallery. A major mistake that saw my leaving there and taking up a job in the National Library before moving to an initially a short-term secondment to the Parliament House Art Collection to catalogue the decorative arts component of the Collection. This lead to my being appointed Curator of the Parliament House Art Collection, a position I stayed in for about 5 years when I move to the Nolan Gallery as Director/Curator. While at Parliament House, I stated the public exhibition program showcasing the Art Collection. I am proud of that.

At the Nolan Gallery, I wanted to research mid-century Australian art but the development of the (now) Canberra Museum and Galley saw me moving between these organisations. I eventually became Director of Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Nolan Gallery and finally Director of ACT Museums and Galleries that included Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Nolan Collection and AC T Historic Places (Lanyon, Calthorpes’ House and Mugga Mugga). During my tenure in the previous position(s) I was made Adjunct Assoc. Professor of Culture Heritage and Museology at the University of Canberra. I left that position in 2011 to work part-time at the University of Canberra as University Art Curator and a lecturer in the Donald Horne Institute. My stay at UC was not long and since leaving, I have worked mainly as a consultant curator and writer. One of the most challenging projects was the 25th anniversary exhibition for Parliament House. I had to choose 25 works from the nearly 6000 artworks in the Collection and write about them in a way that the general public could understand. It was a challenge, but I enjoyed it a lot.

I was doing consultancy work, writing, and doing exhibitions quite happily and then a couple of years ago I was asked to give advice at Strathnairn Arts regarding the drawing prize. My advice was to start again. Then I was asked if I was interested to help out for a while and I said yes. The previous Director had left and I was interested in the position on a.part-time basis. I was offered the job and I accepted it, and here I still am. I continued my consultancy work and had quite a few exhibitions that toured to regional New South Wales in that year (and beyond). I also continue to write as a critic for the Canberra Times. I also wrote a book on local artist Helen Geier that year.

I love writing about exhibitions and about art but I feel it is a massive responsibility. I need to be “care-full”, not “careful”, full of care about what and how I write. For example, when I do my critical writing, if I really don't feel I can say something positive then I don't review a show. That being said, there are times when I offer suggestions of how an exhibition could work better.

While I was at ACT Museums and GalleriesCMAG, I wrote a number of exhibition catalogues, book chapters and articles.I am currently finalising my second book as an author; it’s about the Calleen Collection at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery and will be published later this year.

- How do you curate exhibitions?

- I have a good understanding of space and I have dealt with many different exhibition spaces. If the curator understands the space, putting an exhibition together becomes comfortable. There is a logic in a good exhibition - you walk in and you get it immediately. And the reason is because it “works”. There is a rationale behind why two artworks are next to each other and why the spaces are the way they are. There is a rhythm in the space between images and when you determine that rhythm it allows each image to breath and give out as much as it was put into it.

- What is your innermost dream?

- My innermost dream is to stay just as I am, keep doing what I am doing, continuing on my path. I don’t think I have any other dream that comes clear into mind.
My motivation comes from the joy I take from what people make. I greatly admire creative people - not just visual artists but makers/creators across every discipline.

- In 5 years’ time, I hope I will still be doing what I'm doing most of the time, promote art, write and curate exhibitions.

- If I had 15 minutes of fame, I would find a platform to get the Government to understand how important creative practice is. For everybody, not just for the practitioners, but also for the public. There are always token gestures in the arts - big buildings, big galleries and museums but this is not what it's all about. The arts offer a spiritual element that our society needs. Particularly when it is fair to say our society is no longer so tied to religion as it was Everyone needs a spiritual outlet, whether they recognise this or not.

- Who was your first role-model?
- My first role model was my mother. She was a very thorough woman, a thinker and very loving, family was very important and we were and remain a close-knit bunch. She read voluminously was incredibly supportive of what we did. She was also a good critic; she read every single essay that I wrote and she would always pick up on things, challenging my thinking and expression.

- What is your favourite book now?
- Nowadays, I read a lot of non-fiction books. I have also started reading the literature of the inter-war period. The New York Review of Books (which I subscribe to) has a book club that offers fantastic books of this period by authors I have often not heard of before. I re-read Jane Austen regularly every couple of years, I always have. I love Jane Austen and I love 18th century English (in particular) culture. I have particular interests in landscape; and initially that interest was in the English landscape; in both painting and theories of landscape.

The living room/library at our house is painted in a green that it took me ages to find. It’s an 18th century English green. I won’t let that room be painted any other colour.
The 18th century is a period I like a lot; not just the art but also the literature and the architecture.

- My only regret is not having a partner until quite late and that work always mattered more.

- I feel at peace at home; I hate travelling. Home is my special place where I can unwind and relax, I can write and plan.

- How did you become passionate about arts?

- When I was in school we could not do art. However the year before finishing high school, there was this exhibition of contemporary American painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Together with two friends, we skipped the sports class and went to see it. It wasn't the done thing, for three prefects to skip school, but we did it anyway. I found the exhibition rather disquieting; I thought much of the work odd. I hadn’t had much exposure to abstract art or contemporary art generally. I remember this black painting by Ad Reinhardt. I stood there looking at it for maybe 15 minutes. It was a long time for anybody to engage with a single artwork. Somehow, this painting has always stayed with me. Much later when I was studying Fine Arts my art degree – we did contemporary art first. This was followed by 19th and 18th century art, and tback to the Renaissance. It was for me a good way to study art history. It led us to ask “how did we get here?”.I certainly enjoyed it. The Ad Reinhardt painting came back to me and it was what got me into art history.

Then, archaeology taught me to look at art in a different way. Everyone did the same course in the first year and you had to get above a certain mark then you were allowed to go into the Honours stream. The first week of 2nd year Honours, we went into the laboratory and we were given pieces of ceramic from Jericho. Sydney University had worked with Cambridge in the Jericho digs in the 30’s and 40’s and they had a substantial collection of shards. We were given a shard from a pot that was over 3000 years old. It just fascinated me and I remember it really well.

I loved dealing with objects during my archaeology studies, that is why I still like ceramics a lot. Archaeology taught me about objects. I can still tell just by looking at a shard whether it’s from Corinth or from Athens for example. I learned to look and not feel threatened by objects. I think that is why that Ad Reinhardt painting kept coming back to me, because I didn’t know what to do with it – there was just this black square when in fact it was much more than that. So, archaeology brought me to art in a sort of circuitous way

The Teacher

My innermost dream is to see my children growing up happy and content, to be successful and resilient enough to overcome blockages and to value life. 

I feel that I have achieved what I wanted to do in regards to travel and education. I would like to become a black belt before I am 50 years old. I'd love to do a gig in a small pub somewhere, one day. I have a perfectionist streak and I know I won't step up until I'm good enough to perform.
Here is a little fact that only my close circle knows: I have a minor in French and teaching. While I have never really pursued working in schools, I am actively imparting my knowledge in other ways, by volunteering to teach art and STEM combined projects. 

I have an immense respect for all teachers around the world and  I am particularly in awe with each and every teacher at our local school. 
Their passion and dedication are to be commended. Our children will turn into some beautiful human beings because of all these amazing teachers, who work the longest hours. Their work does not end when classroom is dismissed. In fact, last night at 10pm I witnessed them tirelessly packing up the props and costumes at the end of another fantastic musical production. 

They are all my favourites but this time I am going to introduce you to José, or Mr. A, as everyone calls him. 
Our school community has seen him working together with the children in many extracurricular activities as well. 
When I first met José, he was training a group of children in sports activities. Although my children were a lot younger than the group, he included them as well and gave them tasks appropriate for their age. 
We also have a great bike workshop, where children learn how to put together  and how to maintain a bike.  

- "I wear many hats during a day: I am a dad, I am a husband, a public servant, a musician, I am a teacher and a trainer - I have many roles.
I think I like my Dad hat the best. I love being with my children and spending time with them.

I knew what I wanted to be in life from a very young age. I knew that I was going to be a teacher when I was in primary school. At some point, I also wanted to be a musician. I have considered police or military roles for a while, but deep down, I always knew I was going to be a teacher.

When I was little, my favourite story was "Puss in Boots" - my grandmother used to read it to me. It was a Spanish version, "El Gato en Botas". As I got older, I really liked “The Wizard of Oz”.

In our childhood, pre-video era, we didn't have so many programs or choices; we only got to see the movie once a year, which made it even more special.
With my own kids, particularly with Lola, we went through a stage where we would watch it over and over again. We still watch it at times and it’s still special.

Coming out of high school, my heart was still set on becoming a teacher. I also wanted to travel; I wanted to see things and explore the world. I wanted to be in a band and together with my friend Tim, we set up our own band. We called ourselves The Hot Tamales. We are just having our 25 years reunion soon.
Back in those times, I would always have my drum kit in my car and we made cassette tapes that we would play over and over again.
When we went to Uni, we played with other people too. But we always had our own band. We were named after an old blues song and it's the name that stuck.
We play many things; Tim loves blues. I love country and heavier rock but we seem to find a happy medium, playing Cream, Jimmy Hendrix and Deep Purple covers. Then we sprinkle some individual things too. But I have to say, my guilty pleasure is country.

I don't know if I really had a dream or whether I had a plan, coming out of high school. I wanted to be an art teacher, but then I changed my mind.
I love art and I love making things. I wanted to teach and to be happy. I am a simple person.
I didn’t have a plan. If you love plans, this makes it easier to miss opportunities. I guess my thinking was that I wanted to see myself growing into someone who will be happy and content, as opposed to someone with just a career. We spend so much time asking kids what they want to be, when they finish school. I think it is important that we let them know that it's OK to not know straight away, that it's OK to explore options. Even as a teacher, there are still so many more things I could do.
Some kids do know what they want to do, but others need to explore.

I am a simple man. I love who I am. I say that with no false modesty. I really love who I am. It’s hard to fully love and help other people if you haven't become aware of your own self and if you are not happy with who you are.
That's not to say that I am perfect. I strive to be better, but we are all works in progress.

My innermost dream is to see my children growing up happy and content, to be successful and resilient enough to overcome blockages and to value life.
I feel that I have achieved what I wanted to do in regards to travel and education. I would like to become a black belt before I am 50 years old. I'd love to do a gig in a small pub somewhere, one day. I have a perfectionist streak and I know I won't step up until I'm good enough to perform.
I don't have any hidden dreams, I am an open book.

- What keeps José going and where does he find his motivation?

- It's too difficult to choose one motivation. Inside me, there is something that keeps me going no matter what. Elijah is a good example: whenever I don't feel like doing something, I think of his determination and that motivates me to strive to be better.
Robin, Lola, my entire family are a good motivation. They deserve a good husband and father. 

I'm also motivated by the fact that I like being good at what I do. I am lucky, motivation comes easy, it comes from inside.

-What is a better motivator, Success or Failure?

- Failure motivates me better. Be that actually failing or fear of failing is motivating. I am certainly afraid of failure. Always willing to do things without fear of failing but when I did fail, it motivated me immensely.

I don't make plans in advance. Wherever life and its opportunities take me, that's where I will be in 5 years’ time.
I don’t really think of having 15 minutes of fame. I'm fortunate in that as a teacher, I meet many people and I have many opportunities to positively influence and shape young life. That is one of the best things about my job.
Like Elijah, I think I would use those minutes of fame to let people know that there is hope and that nothing is permanent.

- My first role model was one of my teachers at Spence Primary. I was year 3 or year 4 and Mr. Wong has been a big influence on me. We stayed in contact for long after I finished school. Unfortunately, he passed away quite young and I was very affected by it.

Another first role model was Paul Kelly and his music. Then I understood my father better and he became a role model too. As a youngster I didn't understand him very well back then, but I have started to see him in a completely new light.
Both of them are still my role models to day. Then there is Elijah. He really inspires me; I'm a better person for having a son like him because he is stronger than I am.
Sometimes when teaching children, I am wanting to be better and to learn everything I can from them. There is so much to be learned from children.
There is a number of children at Fraser Primary that I got a lot from. They don’t realise what a strong impact they have on people.

Lately, I am also inspired by LeBron James. He opened up a school in his home town, but it’s far from being just a school. He worked out an entire support network for students and parents coming from underprivileged backgrounds. The students are provided with meals during the day, as well as services to help them deal with stress.
The school provides services to families, which include job placement assistance for parents and an on-site food bank from which parents can take food to prepare at home.
It's amazing to see a guy who came from a tough background giving back so much to his community. He has never been in trouble with police, never been in the media for the wrong reasons. I love good role models like him.

- My favourite books are "The Prophet" by Khalil Gilbran and “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee. I haven’t yet read the sequel; I have heard mixed reviews of it.
I also love reading autobiographies, I am interested in people and their journey in life.
I also like dark things and anything do to with psychology, particularly people who are different to me. I loved reading “Silence of the Lambs” and I loved the movie, too.

- My favourite movie is still “The Wizard of Oz”.
Then there is "Hi fidelity", a movie that will always be on my top 10 favourites for a few different reasons.
In a way, I see myself in that movie. I think about the time when I was preparing for travelling and I had this CD holder that I was going to take with me. I remember trying to pick what could cover me while travelling around the world – you can only take so much, when backpacking.

- My biggest regret? It’s very easy to answer that question; my biggest regret is talking Elijah into sky diving the morning when the accident happened. Of all the things we could have done, wecould have made different decisions and have different outcomes.
This is closely followed by deciding not to see Nirvana in 1991 at the ANU bar. I remember saying to my mates “I'll see them on their next tour”. There wasn't a next tour, as we know now.
Life is full of regrets but in most cases they are learning opportunities.

- I feel at peace when I am at home. I am at peace either around my friends or completely alone.
I am an introvert and I like being alone. There are so many things I could do when I am by myself - I can listen to music, I can read, I can draw. I have also started to restore drum kits.

- If I had to describe myself in a word, that would be "Hopeful". 
I live in hope and always have. Maybe it's hope that motivates me. There is always this hope that life will be better. If I didn't see hope, there wouldn't be motivation to teach or to be better. Without hope, why do anything at all?

The Ambassador

"My innermost dream? I have two. I would like to be the receptionist here at Ginninderry.
I like being at the desk and answering the phone. My favourite part of the job is making new friends. Everyone calls me the Ginninderry’s ambassador and this is who I would love to be. I want to be this ambassador, the first face greeting the people that come in. I want to be an ambassador for Daana, too. I like talking to people. You know, if I ever had my own star, like the celebrities on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, I would like my star to say this: my name and “great ambassador”.
Peter’s smile is warm and genuine. He is one of the first persons to greet you at The Link building and if he sees you coming, he welcomes you by opening the door for you.
I have met him before on numerous occasions and I love his friendliness and his passion for true customer service.
On one of our conversations, he candidly told me he is working three jobs. I knew I had to invite him to wear the hat and tell me more about himself.

- “When I was a young child, I loved learning how to speak properly. I wanted to be like my big brother, Ian. He was the first person to nurse me when I was a baby. I loved that he looked after me. Nowadays, both my brothers are my role models.
My younger brother, John, lives in Los Angeles at the moment but I went to visit him with my parents last year.

When I was younger, I wanted to be like James Bond.  
I am also a big NCIS fan, I have been watching all the series. It’s my favourite TV show.
Coming out of high school, I went for work experience as a kitchen hand at ANU at a small café near the Law school and also at Sullivans. I have also worked at MacDonald’s. Later I got a scholarship and studied for a hospitality certificate.

Now, I have three jobs. I work as an office assistant for the ACT Down Syndrome, I am a support officer at Ginninderry and I also work at Daana, and Indian restaurant. I have been working with them for two years now.

My innermost dream? I have two. I would like to be the receptionist here at Ginninderry.
I like being at the desk and answering the phone. My favourite part of the job is making new friends.
Everyone calls me the Ginninderry’s ambassador and this is who I would love to be. I want to be this ambassador, the first face greeting the people that come in. I want to be an ambassador for Daana, too. I like talking to people. You know, if I ever had my own star, like the celebrities on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, I would like my star to say this: my name and “great ambassador”.

My work buddies are David and Ashleigh. David is a great boss, he even takes me to have lunch with his family.
Ashleigh and I are always planning the treats for our co-workers’ birthdays. We go to the cake shop, we get little decorations and we prepare a nice celebration.

In five years’ time, I would like to be the next “Batchelor”. 
I would really like to meet a special girl.

If I had 15 minutes of fame, I would like people to know me better. I would like them to know that I am a good person and I would like them to look differently at people with Down Syndrome.

I only have one regret: that I never learned how to mow grass. But maybe one day I will learn.

I feel at peace at my parents’ place or at my brothers’ place. 
I love spending time with them. I did a cooking course and I love cooking with my mother on Saturdays. I can make a very good butter chicken. Sometimes, I cook with my father too; we usually chose to make bangers and mash, or pizza.

My favourite thing is playing basketball. I also play tennis; I really want the Government to open the Mpowerdome because it’s easier for me to get there.
Sometimes, I play video games too - it’s an easy way to relax, especially if I am upset”.