Saturday, February 15, 2020

Fred Smith Brisbane Launch

Brisbane friends, if you haven't heard Fred Smith before then log this date into your diary for the Brisbane launch of his new album, Domestic.
Check his material out on Youtube then come along and support this amazing Aussie artist who speaks truth to power.

Where: Junk Bar215 Waterworks Rd, Ashgrove, Queensland

All Ages Licensed

  • General Admission: $25.00
  • Buy Tickets – 07 3168 2993
  • Additional fees may apply

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Naked Anniversary

On March 1, 2010  Spencer Tunick carried out a series of installations titled "The Base" on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt and inside the Opera House. 

The installations were carried out as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and were Tunick's first large-scale installation in Sydney, with over 5,200 participants. I was one of those 5,200 naked bodies and one of the 2,000 plus who were invited into the shoot in the Great Hall of the Opera House.

I had been to a few naturist events prior to this and was used to seeing other unclothed bodies of diverse shapes.I had played in the annual Anzac Day Nude cricket match at Belongil Beach and documented the first Brisbane Naked Bike Ride in 2007.My calendar of events always includes World Naked Gardening Day. I even have a naked patron for my Holy Irritant blog. 

After this shoot I was a feature in an exhibition at the  2012 Pride Art Show

My parents ensured that our childhood and home life was filled with reading,music and clothing. I'm not sure where the DNA preference for nudity came from. My digital life collection  showcases my wardrobe and I even have a site for my Tees , called Credo Threads. 

So here I am ten years on from my  nude encounter with 5199 other people on a chilly morning in Sydney.I remember arriving at 4 am to register and getting my wristband which allowed me to join the select group for the indoor shoot in the Great Hall. Despite the large crowd and the fact that our clothing and personal items were left in plastic bags on parkland next to the Opera House, there was no report of theft or other disturbance.

I remember the conversations about religion, sport and politics. I remember the good humour and respect as we weaved and turned like a football crowd. I ended up close to the front row and was almost in touching distance of Grant Denyer doing a live feed for Sunrise My highlight was being in the group that were taken into the Great Hall for a shoot. As we left the space at about 9am we mingled and met staff and tourists arriving for the usual days activities.

Tunick has amazing crowd control using his ladder, a megaphone and clothed minders.The spirit of the occasion left an endearing memory of the respect, fun and  comfort of moving around with  naked people of all shapes and sizes. This is all the more amazing when you consider that we were asked to  lay on the ground, face front and back and then invited to embrace someone.

All participants received one souvenir photo of the event.Mine is framed and  acts as a great conversation starter when we have exhausted religion,politics and sport.  As you might imagine the challenge in a large group photo is identifying  yourself. Unfortunately I was absorbed into a mass of naked flesh and am still trying to find myself.

My anniversary celebration will be spent enlarging some of the pics online and searching for my nondescript  body whilst attempting not to gawk at the  surrounding awesomeness.

For those from faith traditions feeling a little awkward about nudity here's a little spiritual encouragement

Friday, January 24, 2020

Australia Day 2020

Last night thanks to Jackie Trad I joined friends from South Brisbane at The Australian Dream - Free Local Screening. Sam Grant's speech concludes this powerful and disturbing documentary.

My life experience includes unlearning the racism of my childhood and cultural upbringing. It wasn't the vicious racism of name calling and shaming that this doco exposes.Rather it was the more insidious racism of silence,ignorance and cultural prejudice

In my childhood home my parents had two small prints of the work of Albert Namatjira. This was my only exposure to First Nations people as a young boy.My Catholic education from the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers made no reference to local or national Aboriginal or Torres Strait islanders peoples.

I was 26 years old when I first met an Aboriginal person at our community share house in Fitzroy. Brian was my age and a good friend for that year.

Due to travel I was 60 years old before I met my first traditional owner of the land on which i was born on #Wathauring Country. I hold in sacred memory the meeting with Wathaurong elder Uncle David Tournier RIP.

This weekend once again I stand with friends and colleagues of First Nations Peoples. I also join with those who are doing sorry business with the passing of two people.

Aunty Pamela Mam will be buried from Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Tuesday. Her passing has been acknowledged in public for her pioneering work in providing health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Griffith University in 2018. Her tributes included a statement from the Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles. Her life and achievements are celebrated across social media posts.

The other passing this week came to me via a text message from an elder of the community who wanted to let me know that "Sam: had passed away. Sam was a man I had supported during my work with survivors of childhood institutional abuse.

Sam had the look and the passion of a warrior for rights. He stood tall with a thick beard that added to his dignity. His body and soul carried the scars of childhood abuse that haunted him into his adult life.

Sam's life is recorded only in official documents and the records of his institutional history. His passing is shared among the community who knew him as one of the Forgotten Australians.

I had photographed both Aunty Pam and Sam. Both of them gazed into my lens with two very different stories of First Nations peoples that I will hold in sacred memory this weekend.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 Retrospective

My Facebook page is more of a diary and documentary site for events, reflections  and encounters that make up, my life. I have chosen 12 of these highlights from 2019 to share with those who may not usually see my FB feed

4 January 2019
Image may contain: 13 people, people smiling, crowd and outdoorThe wonder of life is that it will take you into sacred space in the most unexpected places. I have a custom when visiting Geelong of having a few drinks at a local club, Beavs. I love the eclectic decor of religious kitsch and the crowd who are always welcoming of the stranger in their midst.
Tonight it was obvious that something was in the air as so many young blokes were in white shirts and black ties.i had noticed a PowerPoint playing but didn’t pay too much attention.
It was only when almost everyone gathered for s group photo and I asked the bar staff that I realised I had walked into a “wake” for a young man, James Travers tragically killed in a hit run incident a few days before Christmas.
I went back to follow the PowerPoint images celebrating the life of Jimmy Travers. One image jumped out at me of Jimmy in his school uniform. Like me he had been a student at “Joeys” the local Christian Brothers College.St. Joseph's Old Collegians Association All of a sudden we were no longer strangers but brothers sharing a common history and communal grief touched my spirit.
Rest In Peace Jimmy and May your friends find consolation in their love for each other so evident tonight

4 February 2019
No photo description available.Good morning from the Queen Victoria building. A few images of this majestic structure including views that the regulars often miss as they scurry from shop to boutique.
My favourite space is the Men’s toilet with the original centre urinal still in place. Discrete, public and alluring don’t you think? I have a penchant for urinals as the current trend to Unisex Toilets threatens to see our urinals relegated to the archives of the human story. 

Check out my album of Sydney Images collected over recent years. I have not identified all of the images so feel free to add your comments or memories of the quirky, interesting and historic places I have captured.

1 March 2019
My life as a career delegate. Immersed in culture and change today. BrisAsia Symposium 2019 – Belonging Matt Hsu's Obscure Orchestra

No photo description available.

12 April 2019
Amazing moment where art, history and religion meet. Congratulations to Rhyl Hinwood on these beautiful sculptures that gaze out over our city telling the story of women and men who nurtured the early Christian communities.

More images from this event are in my album of St John's Cathedral
Anglican Church Southern Queensland

Image may contain: outdoor

4 May 2019
Today is World Naked Gardening Day.
Organizers assert that "besides being liberating, nude gardening is second only to swimming as an activity that people are most ready to consider doing nude".
Image may contain: Tony Robertson, smiling
Beyond body positivity, Corky Stanton of Clothes Free International, an organization that promotes nude recreation, has asserted that the event offers the "fringe benefits of bare, unabashed recreation: the satisfaction of exercising in the great outdoors; the attractiveness of an all-over tan; more Vitamin D on your whole body; the unbeatable experience of skinny-dipping if the naturist event involves a beach or a lake.
Thanks Wikipedia!!
So, readers, here's your chance to participate. These are my two watering cans that will feature in my photo shoot today. You get to nominate which watering can you would like to see me holding as I celebrate World Naked Gardening Day

12 June 2019
Really grateful to Halim Rane for a presentation last night on The Prophet's Covenants. I am passionate about the promotion and opportunities to develop religious literacy in our civic community. Social media has made everyone a participant in public conversation but also shows us the need for informed, considered and more "civic" commentary.
I have written a blog about the presentation and provided access to resources that Halim suggested for further reading and awareness.

8 July 2019

Amazing launch of #NAIDOC2019 with culture, community and reflection on the theme of Voice, Treaty, Truth.
So grateful for those Elders and community members who keep me grounded in First Nations culture and connection to country.

Photo : With Chris Tamayo at Brisbane City Hall.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Tony Robertson, people smiling, hat and glasses

7 August 2019
Image may contain: one or more people and people sittingDay one of the Franciscan Schools Australia Conference 2019 exploring encounter as a core religious and social commitment. Looking forward to the journey in spirituality and imagination we will share

A three day gig for me doing photography and social media. Check out my images here

6 September 2019
Day 3 of volunteer photography at Brisbane Writers Festival and the opportunity to catch up with friends who share the passion for books, community, culture and everything else that makes this Festival so wonderful.

Photo with Margi Brown Ash
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, hat, glasses and close-up

11 October 2019
Today I stand in public solidarity with the action on the William Jolly Bridge bridge by Extinction Rebellion. Solidarity greetings to Extinction Rebellion Geelong my birth city on #Wathaurong Country.
Image may contain: Tony Robertson, outdoorI also want to declare my public support for this week of activism and awareness raising by a new generation. I share my solidarity as a person of faith whose religious commitment includes the commandment to live with integral ecology in our common home which we share with diverse life forms and species.
Along with political activism I add my spiritual activism of prayer for my conversion and change of heart to simply with less stuff and choices that minimize my ecological footprint. As a Catholic I join with my sisters and brothers who celebrate October as the month of the Holy Rosary. The beads with which I pray are a set I brought back from Alice Springs one year decorated in the traditional Aboriginal colours.
In the last 24 hours I have been involved two conversations that highlight the frightening division in our community. On his FB page one of my brothers has posted a message supporting violence against XR protesters suggesting that the speed bump response is "harsh but fair". This is a suggestion I find disturbing and offensive in the extreme. To read it from one of my own family is gut wrenching.
While I was taking this in I received a message from a young mate who wanted to know if I would be joining him at the XR action this morning. Of these two conversations the call from a young man to join the passion for change far outweighs the relationship to a curmudgeon.

28 November 2019
The family tribute to Sam Watson,my political mentor and focus of my social protest photography. In recent years each Labour Day I would photograph Sam and Cathy as they sat proudly with their flag watching their comrades parade past for workers rights and workplace justice.
RIP mighty warrior of your people.

1 December 2019

You should never underestimate where your reputation travels: I have only met the legendary Sr Angela Mary once.It was in the middle of a shopping centre. I introduced myself and said I just wanted to say hello to a #Brisbane legend. She smiled at me and said "And I know you too Tony Robertson" with that disarming twinkle in her eyes.

Trent Dalton Pretty darn wonderful yourself Tony Robertson!! Thanks so much for sharing.

Friday, December 20, 2019

A Christmas Greeting 2019

May the ancient story of a child born in occupied territory open our hearts to the work of defending human rights.
May the birth of every child call us to our communal responsibility to protect children,to take them on wild adventures and to let them grow into the unique person they are called to be.
May the image of a family forced to seek refuge and asylum far from their home inform our political choices as citizens of a global village.
May our messages of good wishes and happy holidays not blind us to the work of justice making and non-violence.
May the lights and decorations of the season remind us of our mission to bring light to the darkness and celebration to life.
May our gifting be generous as we remember those who live in situations of poverty and exploitation.
May we hear angelic voices singing our dream of peace on earth
Image is the work of Mark Knight cartoonist at The Herald Sun in Melbourne