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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Nobel Peace Center in Oslo Norway

Last weekend when we enjoyed being a tourist in our own town we visited the Nobel Peace Center for the first time. The Nobel Peace center is created by a Norwegian Foundation initiated by the Parlament in 2000, and opening in 2005. 

 

Nobel Peace Center, Photo by RennyBA

The Nobel Peace Center is located between the City Hall and Akerbrygge in the refurbished building of the Old Western Train Station. The purpose of the Nobel Peace Center is to provide information about the Peace Prize winners, Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize, current conflicts and international peace efforts, exhibitions, lectures, conferences and other activities for children and adults.

Peace Garden 1000 points of Peace

Peace Garden 1000 points of Peace

 Called Norway’s most modern museum, it provides permanent and temporary exhibitions on topics related to war, peace and conflict resolution. Here you see some of the 96 screens which are surrounded by 1000 sparkling LED-stalks of the Peace Garden. Each screen displays information about a different Nobel Peace Prize winner. The screen responds when a person approaches and talls the winner’s history and work.

Hakkens Song oil painting by Gerhard Sekoto 1946-47, shows the white man who stands and watches the black laborers

Hakkens Song oil painting by Gerhard Sekoto 1946-47, shows the white man who stands and watches the black laborers

Currently they have opened a new exhibit called Courage and Resistance which expresses through art the struggles of South Africa. The exhibits  give small glimpses of the daily political struggle in South Africa, as well as great highlights from the lives of four South African leaders, each of which were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, Frederik Willem de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.

The exhibition is on loan from South Africa and was first shown during the Norwegian Royal couple’s visit to South Africa last fall, as an initiative of the Nobel Peace Centre and the Iziko National Gallery in Cape Town. We now have the privilege of enjoying it here in Norway on display until October, 2010. You know what is coming now don’t you…yes that means that you too can experience this exhibit if you like when joining the Oslo Blog Gathering 2010!! So look forward to checking it out!

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Starry Starry Night with Don McLean in Oslos Rockefeller

This week RennyBA and I had a rare pleasure. An intimate acoustic based concert from Don McClean who is currently doing a series of such concerts in Europe. The scene was Rockefeller, an old bathhouse, turned music club with room for only about 500 concert-goers. Although he is now 65 years old he gave us a show which proved both his voice and his playing skills are still in fine form. As a matter of fact as luck would have it his band didn’t make the tour because of the recent volcanic activity in Iceland, so for the first time in many years McLean is doing a one man show, performing solo with just his guitar and banjo, a rare treat indeed. Performing all on his own he still had no problem filling the room with music and pleasing the crowd.

Jon McLean in concert, photo by RennyBA

Jon McLean in concert, photo by RennyBA

He started the evening by promising us “we are going to do a lot of singing tonight” and he held his word on that note. Singing concerts for over 40 years, he still approaches his audience with an authentic common man attitude, and an originality and interest which makes us feel part of the show. One really gets the impression he has done live shows for 40 years because he really enjoys it. He sang not only his favorites from his own songbook, but also played music from his own favorite artists such as Billy Holly, Elvis, Woody Guthrie and Roy Orbeson.

Naturally enough the audience eagerly awaited his classic hit, “American Pie”, a tribute to his idol, Buddy Holly and in memory of the plane crash which took the life of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritche Valence. He got even the somewhat reserved Norwegian audience involved and singing the well known refrain “Bye bye miss American pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry.” The song is as well known here in Scandinavia as in the streets of his home state of New York. The couple we shared a table with told us that this song played non-stop all summer long in 1971. Stop by RennyBA’s Terella and watch his amateur video and read his thoughts and info about Don McLean.

Since Renny has chosen to focus on American Pie, I will look at the interpretation of ”Vincent”, which many also call Starry Starry Night. I like the tone and melody of this song as well as its imagery in the lyrics. McLean is known for his poetic imagery and I think it shows a whole different quality in song writing then is common today.

The song Vincent is a tribute to the famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh and the text represent the life, work and death of this Dutch Impressionist. A Starry Night is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings and the line “paint your pallet blue and grey” refer to the prominent colors in this artwork. The reference to “ragged men in ragged clothes” and “how you tried to set them free” probably refer to Van Gogh’s humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast. This is also present in his paintings and drawings. Further in the same verse “They would not listen/They did not know how” likely refers to Van Gogh’s family and some associates who were critical of his fascination of “the wretched.” As many well know Van Gogh is thought to have suffered from Schizophrenia, thus the line “how you suffered for your sanity”.

Don McLean himself tells the Daily Telegraph about how the song was written. In his typical story-teller form he recounts: “In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of ‘crazy’ – because he was rejected by a woman. So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”

This kind of authenticity and insight into human nature is exactly what I think makes Jon McLean’s music a rare jewel in American music history.

Autumn foilage photo hunt

Each year my husband, RennyBA, and I take a trip (or two or three) out for our fall foliage photo hunt. Blogging has added a new dimension to this pass time as we have become a bit more competitive while enjoying the autumn splendour. We are now in the middle of October and autumn is definitely here so the hunt is on! All photos are taken with my SonyEricsson G502 mobile telephone camera.

Golden leaves on the shores of Vänern

Golden leaves on the shores of Vänern

This year our quest for the peak colour of the season took us around the Göta Canal and Lake Vänern area in Sweden. This area has some great colour, and we happened to be using our vacation home for the weekend so we chose the area here instead of Oslo.

Göte Canal near Lyrestad, Sweden

Göta Canal near Lyrestad, Sweden

All along the Canal one can find the most charming little watch houses. This one is decorated in traditional Swedish fashion, notice the white frames around the windows and the special shape of the siding on the upper section of the house over the window. The Swedish are quite passionate about their gardens and decorating their homes, especially country homes and cottages.

Watchouse on Göte Canal

Watchouse on Göta Canal

Here you see the same watchhouse from the other side of the Canal.  Here you can see the draw bridge beside it which goes over the canal and must be opened to let taller boats through. If you wish to learn more about Göta Canal read RennyBA’s post, here you may learn the history of this architectial acheivement of the 1800’s.

Watchouse with a drawbridge

Watchouse with a drawbridge

Typically enough of any good chase. The catch was really in our own back yard…or rather our front yard. Here you see the most colorful maple tree standing right outside our window. But of course if we were satisfied with that we would have missed out on a whole day of fun!
You cant beat a Maple tree

You can't beat a Maple tree

Have a good week everybody! And thanks for stopping by!

Artistic interruptions

It’s Wednesday after Easter vacation, and I just can’t seem to get my act together. Oh I have been to work. Duty calls! However I have an assignment for my classes which I need to work on, and a lot of reading to do. I am just struggling to get my motivation up to do the things on my to do list.

The artistic side of me is working overtime however. Instead of doing my homework this afternoon all I wanted to do was paint. I was feeling very creative, and I believe the lack of sleep (from working nights) opened my emotions up and made them easer to express on the canvas. I’m sorry the photo isn’t quite right, the piece is much more symmetrical then the photo shows, that is because of having to hold the camera at an angle, and I’m afraid the dark color creates a reflection with the use of the flash. You will get the general idea though.

Hiding in Shame

Today’s piece is called “Hiding in shame”

While I am exposing my artwork I will post the one which I painted a couple weeks ago. A more positive piece I might add.

Birches

Birches

This one has grown on me quite a bit. Sometimes my works have to sit in the kitchen (my favorite room) for a while so I can get to know them. I believe I will be framing this one up this week. Then I must find a home for it and the two others I have framed up (which are currently also living in the kitchen) but it takes me awhile to get a feeling for where the piece “belongs” as well. My poor family living with my crazy temporary galleries!!

Okay – I am now going to dig up some motivation to do some work….however I do have this fantastic book I am reading….JUST KIDDING!!! (I think)

UPDATE! I am not the only one feeling creative today, must be something in the air. RennyBA and Dackel Princess are hooking up!! No not what you are thinking (smile) take a look and see how their care package exchange went and leave your greetings to them both!! Blogging – Connecting People!!