Canberra Day, 2015: Tunes and Pictures by the Lake

On Canberra Day we listen to young people make music on the Patrick White Lawn in front of the National Library. I taught one of them a while ago. He is now in a band called Slow Turismo. In this city, retired teachers tap their feet to youthful tunes and sip Peruvian passionfruit water while chatting to past students and old friends under a blaze of blue sky.


Across the lawn a street painter creates a funky work of art. I know him. He is my young teacher friend, James Houlcroft (better known in the art world as Houl). I stroll over and take a photo of his painting. We catch up on some teacher gossip and share a laugh. He is responsible for some of the coolest art on the walls of bars and cafes around town. His weird and wonderful creations appear on random walls, doors and stairwells in Sydney and Canberra and his fabulous cartoon like dinosaurs were part of the Enlighten Festival two years ago.


The lake ripples and glints in the sunshine. Children chase each other around the legs of strangers. Grandparents unfold portable chairs and settle in for the afternoon. Girls in short flowered dresses and young men with hipster beards dance on the grass. Mums and dads sprawl on picnic blankets strewn with coloured pencils and cupcake crumbs. Couples sit entwined under trees by the water. The hot afternoon softens into a balmy evening.

Young people make music and paint pictures and we all tap our feet to the beat of this city.


© Anita Patel, 2015

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