Life lessons for all

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Myers Flat. Photography courtesy of The Great Stupa.
The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Myers Flat. Photography courtesy of The Great Stupa.

If you’re looking for a sign from a higher power, The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Myers Flat is probably a good place to start. And so it was Dr Sue Gillett found herself there one recent weekend, in avoidance of the footy finals.

Sue had dropped her son at the Inglewood football oval then driven to the Stupa and Buddhist Atisha Centre to bide time and find peace in what had been a stressful period. She found much more than she bargained for.

“I’d arrived at the same time as a re-incarnated monk, a 13-year-old Tibetan boy living in Perth,” she says. “I got to put a hardhat on and join the parade. All the Bendigo monks were there, showing this visiting re-incarnated monk around the stupa.”

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is steadily rising from the bush north of Bendigo. Once complete, it will be the largest in the western world.

Sue Gillett
Dr Sue Gillett. Photograph by Shane Carey.

Sue says there was much gift-giving and blessings and her heart was once again full. “I came to the right place at the right time,” she says. But it got better.

“Afterwards I was in the gift shop, and I got chatting to a volunteer, who told me she’d done an arts residency at La Trobe.”

That volunteer was Linda Jackson, Australian fashion pioneer and past business partner of Jenny Kee.

“I asked her if she knew anything about Chinese art,” Sue says. “And she told me she’d made some Chinese opera costumes.” And bingo, Sue had her second win that day.

Linda Jackson is now on the line-up of experts to help deliver Sue’s latest Exhibiting Culture subject.

Exhibiting Culture is a program of special subjects around local cultural events, such as the Bendigo Writers Festival and Bendigo Art Gallery exhibitions.

The next one starts on November 30 and concentrates on the exhibition Ink Remix: contemporary art from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Bendigo Art Gallery.

DATES 30th November to 4th December, 2015 COST $450 Audit subject (no assessment) - See booking link below Single Subject (assessed) - Contact Jennifer Uren for an application form Current LTU students - enrol into this subject as a 15cp elective - Contact ASK Latrobe for enrolment assistance Bookings can be made through art-institute/exhibiting-culture CONTACTS Subject Co-ordinator Sue Gillett E: Administration enquiries Jennifer Uren T +61 3 5444 7969 E: Yao Jui-chung, Yao’s Journey to Australia 2015, biro, oil pen and gold leaf on paper, 200 x 546 x 6cm. Courtesy of the artist and Tina Keng Gallery.
Yao Jui-chung, Yao’s Journey to Australia, one of the works in Ink Remix.

“The subject takes the exhibition as a starting point for exploring themes that are related to that exhibition,” Sue says. “In this case the art is a springboard for bigger conversations about culture and history.”

The subject will also cover sociology, religion, minorities, language, tai chi in the park and, of course, art.

“Students will get to do an art practicum with an expert,” Sue says, which entails a calligraphy lesson in the Golden Dragon Museum with Melbourne artist Xiaoping Zhou.

If you haven’t heard of him, you’ll get an idea of his gentle, cross-cultural practices in this beautiful clip for the film Ochre and Ink.

The week-long subject will take place in the Bendigo Art Gallery, the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre, and at various cultural sites around Bendigo, including the Chinese cemetery, joss house and the stupa. It will be a blessing.

Students and interested community members are invited to enrol via the La Trobe website
This subject is a partnership between Bendigo Art Gallery and
La Trobe’s Confucius Institute.

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