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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I was reading about Nicole Kidman giving birth 7-7-08 (congratulations to them!) and how the baby's name was chosen. In reading about that, my interest was piqued by a quote from the artist Sidney Nolan:

“Art was always to me a means of getting in contact with another world… you could never see that other world and were never told about it, but art seemed to always be kind of touching it.”

In perusing his art (which is fascinating and ethereal with a dark Dali twist and an occasional hint of Picasso to it) I came across information about Ned Kelly and a play I'd really like to watch now. Might be hard to find a DVD of it over here. I swear, all the interesting people got sent to Australia!

His art seemed to lead to all sorts of rich historical references. This piece, connected to the battle of Gallipoli was especially haunting and beautiful. I remember watching the film Gallipoli many years ago and crying my eyes out. I may need to rent that one again, it's an incredible film that very well may have influenced my anti-war views at a tender age.

After I read this article about Nolan, I knew I was in love. His delving into the mythical, his non-conformity, his willingness to experiment with the unusual...all of it awakened a desire to do MORE. He is my muse for today. Oh, and I learned about the poet, Arthur Rimbaud whom Nolan had great admiration for. I found a few of his poems translated online...don't let the first one throw you off, there are others less disgusting (though I admit, I found it highly amusing). Here are some more if you're really interested. I really love this quote by him:

"And again: No more gods! no more gods! Man is King, Man is God!
- But the great Faith is Love!"

So my final question for this morning, was who influenced whom? Which surrealists affected Nolan or was it the other way around? Picasso was born in 1881 and Nolan came along in 1917, while Dali was 1904. Not that these are the only surrealists worth looking at, just two of the artists I thought of while perusing Nolan's work.

This article delved into the surrealist movement in Australia
which has me searching for his piece titled "The secret life of birds".

I'm no expert on surrealism, so I'll leave you with a quote from Salvador Dali:

"There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."

What WAS the point of sharing all of this? It's connections folks. One little interest or article or reference or new sight or sound can lead to anything and everything. This is how we humans learn. Your children will too...IF you trust them.

Look at this wild connection I found today, all while searching for information on art and Nolan. It's a blog that chronicles the makeup and hair trends from years past. Now THAT'S a connection directly related to my work. Fascinating how these things work eh?:)

Happy connecting-the-dots everyone. That's really what unschooling is all about!

Post Script:
I just now found this as part of an email by Robert Genn, one more connection for the day. Apparently, he wrote this as his personal prayer:

The world's engagement of beauty is my bible,
And Art is my religion.
I come to it as a child.
I add all the grown wisdom I can gather.
Creativity is my salvation.
My easel is the altar.
My paints are the sacraments.
My brush is my soul's movement,
and to do poorly, or not to work, is a sin.


Blogger Sandra Dodd said...

I would like to recommend a movie called "Sirens," without telling you exactly why, except "connections, connections!"

It has Sam Neill as the main guy, and Elle Macpherson and Portia de Rossi, and Hugh Grant (not as main character). It has art, artists, models, religion, sensuality, and Australia!

1:33 AM  

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