Brisbane River

Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Brisbane River
PO Box 1904
Carindale QLD 4152

ABN: 21 339 806 033

ADFAS Brisbane River provides a yearly programme of eight illustrated lectures given by six overseas and two Australian lecturers all chosen for their communication skills and expert knowledge in their fields.  Additionally three Interest Events are held where topics are examined in more detail.

Our annual membership fee provides access to the eight lectures, which are followed by friendly conversation and refreshments, and to the special Christmas Morning Tea following the Annual General Meeting.  Our Interest Events are limited in attendee numbers and have a modest separate charge which covers the lectures and refreshments.

Anyone with an interest in the arts or who wishes to develop an interest in the arts is very welcome to join.  No prior knowledge is needed and the lectures are very accessible.   Our friendly members all have one thing in common – an interest in learning more about the arts.

We regret that we currently have no membership vacancies.


Committee 2019

Judy Winston Smith
Ph: (07) 3371 6851

Terry Cronin
Ph: (07) 3870 8799


Chris Rylands
Ph: (07) 3398 4827

RSVP for Guest Attendance and AGM:
Maria Hansen
Ph: (07) 3374 3530

Programme for 2019

Friday 8 March

NAMIBIAN ROCK ART: and the Infamous “White Lady”


Rock art truly shows the importance of art and storytelling in the human narrative. It’s embedded within our deepest desires to communicate and form relationships with those around us.  Namibia (formerly Southwest Africa) is a scenically beautiful country known for its geology and its wildlife, but it is also rich in prehistoric rock art, both sophisticated paintings and engravings. Around Brandberg Mountain alone there are over 50,000 rock paintings, with more being discovered each year. This talk presents the best of the known rock art, including the story of the “White Lady” of the Brandberg, one of the most famous pieces of rock art in the world.

Dr Paul Bahn led the team which discovered Britain’s only known Ice Age cave art and is Britain’s foremost archaeological writer, and translator.  He has consulted in various capacities on television documentaries. A Contributing Editor of Archaeology magazine Paul’s many books include Images of the Ice Age, which won Archaeology Book of the Year in 2017. Paul holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has held several post-doctoral fellowships.  He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of numerous international professional organizations.  Paul’s research and lecturing on archaeological study tours have taken him to important archaeological sites around the world in Europe, Africa, North America, Australia and Polynesia.

Friday 12 April

YEHUDI MENUHIM: Prodigy and Phenomenon

Phillip BAILEY  BA

This lecture traces the chronology of a remarkable career in performance and the events and the characters helping to shape a life dedicated to the pursuit of utopian perfection in the art of music. The lecture focuses on the remarkable careers of Yehudi, Hephzibah and Yaltah Menuhin, three consummate musicians who each had to deal with their often-complicated lives outside the concert hall. Several related topics are explored as the Menuhin saga unfolds:  the precious violins, the architecture and furnishings of the various Menuhin residences; concert halls and their acoustics; yoga and its role in extending a career threatened by a tremor in Yehudi’s right hand; and the role played by a group of formidable women in supporting his quest to change the world for the better.


Philip Bailey’s introduction to the world of Yehudi Menuhin and of Hephzibah and Yaltah, his two remarkable sisters, began in 1951 when, aged eight, he was a member of the Saturday matinee audience for a recital Yehudi and Hephzibah gave in Sydney Town Hall. In 1976, after a series of chance encounters, he joined the Menuhin staff. His role as Yehudi’s personal assistant, lasted two decades and involved extensive travel. During these years, Philip was called upon to perform a host of duties associated with the touring artist.  In the months before she died of cancer he found himself engaged as Hephzibah’s page turner in 1980 during her final US recital tour with Yehudi. He developed a close friendship with Yaltah, the youngest Menuhin sibling, who was overlooked and thus destined never to achieve her full potential as a pianist. It is this long and close association with the Menuhins that has given Philip unique insights into the lives of these remarkable musicians and their families. Returning to Australia following Yehudi’s death in 1999, Philip wrote a two-volume Menuhin biography entitled Yehudiana – Reliving the Menuhin Odyssey that has been the subject of enthusiastic reviews.

Friday 17 May

FIESTA! Festivals in Modern Mexico

Chloë SAYER  BA (Hons) FRAI

Mexico has a vast range of cultures and a rich variety of festivals. Visually splendid, many feature flamboyant processions and masked dances with elaborate costumes. Mexican fiestas are often preceded by extensive and costly preparations. These include seasonal markets; the making of regional foodstuffs and feasts; the creation of floral archways and colourful pathways of dyed sawdust. They also feature music, incense, and exuberant firework displays. Most are religious in inspiration but still draw on the pre-Christian beliefs and practices of ancient civilisations like those of the Aztec and the Maya.

The yearly festive cycle incorporates Carnival, Holy Week, Corpus Christi, and Saints’ Days including on December 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico and an important symbol of national identity. The Christmas story is acted out in towns and villages. In some regions adults and children take the roles of shepherds and shepherdesses, hermits and devils. The Day of the Dead festival combines Christian and earlier religious elements. On All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (1 and 2 November) the souls of the dead are welcomed by the living. Folk artists make ceremonial pottery and delicate banners of cut paper. Home altars are made beautiful with offerings of flowers and fruit. This is not a sombre occasion, but a time for feasting and reunion.

Chloë has written several books about Mexican festivals and this lecture draws on her researches and travels in Mexico as well as featuring objects that she has collected for the British Museum.

Chloë Sayer is a scholar and curator who has conducted extensive research and fieldwork on Latin American art and culture and is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. She has made ethnographic collections in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum.  Chloë has coordinated residencies by Mexican artists in Canada and the UK. In 2016 the Mexican Government awarded her the prestigious Ohtli medal to thank her for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture. Chloë has curated and contributed to numerous Mexican exhibitions and events in the UK and Ireland, including at the British Museum and Trinity College, Dublin, as well as at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum and at the Royal Ontario Museum where she is a Research Associate. Chloë has published widely and worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru.  She uses her extensive photographic archive to illustrate her books, exhibitions and lectures. Chloë has been a tutor at the University of the Arts, London and a Gallery Educator at the Royal Academy. She currently leads cultural tours to Mexico and lectures extensively in the UK, Europe, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

Friday 17 May – 12.45pm – 3.15pm – INTEREST AFTERNOON
FRIDA KAHLO: Mexican Art and Culture
Chloë SAYER  BA (Hons)

The afternoon will focus on the work of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957), two of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, chronicling their flamboyant lives and examining their role in Mexican history. Key figures in the Mexican cultural renaissance of the 1930s, Kahlo and Rivera gave new value to the ancient cultures of the New World. After the Revolution of 1910, at a critical time in Mexico’s turbulent history, they helped Mexico to explore its identity as a post-Colonial nation and made it a magnet for the rest of the world.

The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s intricate visual narratives, rich with allegory and symbolism, adorn the walls of public buildings. Inspired by Aztec and Maya imagery, and by early Italian fresco painting, his vast murals combine social criticism with faith in human progress.

Kahlo’s work, unlike Rivera’s, is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences and dreams. Photographs and self-portraits show Kahlo flamboyantly dressed in traditional clothing, much of it hand-woven and richly embroidered.

The art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera was shaped by their ideals and by their passion for Mexico. The afternoon will provide an introduction to Mexico itself, to the ancient civilizations and the contemporary peasant cultures that both painters admired so greatly, and also to the artistic mood of the period.

Friday 28 June

The title of Robert’s Lecture comes from the great Noel Coward. It was his advice to a young actor. But there is more to acting than that! With thirty-five years of lecturing in acting, Robert explodes the myth of ‘truth in acting’.

Good acting is a mixture of internal and external skills. Using performance Robert will demonstrate the importance of observation, imagination and concentration when bringing a character to life. Robert also looks at the way in which acting techniques are used by our politicians, preachers and con men to persuade, cajole and hector us into doing what they want.

This is an amusing and thought-provoking lecture in which we recognize our behaviours in terms of our own role-play in everyday life. Today celebrities have an undue influence on public debate and Robert looks at why actor training has helped them to become a potent force in today’s society.

Robert Ketton was educated at The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and Burton School of Speech and Drama. He migrated to Australia in 1974 to help establish Theatre in Queensland Secondary Schools. In 1976 he was appointed as a Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. Over the next thirty-three years Robert taught acting and directed dozens of plays for the university’s Performance Centre. Robert retired as senior lecturer in acting. Since that time he has worked for GP Connections establishing ‘Floodlight’ to help with flood relief in Toowoomba and environs. He also works as a communication consultant and is in demand as an M.C. and public speaker. Robert is voluntary P.R. Manager for Downs Steam tourist Railway & Museum and is Vice President of Sunrise Way a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. Robert has a number of published books and plays and is currently working on an illustrated children’s book with his artist wife, Catherine.

Wednesday 17 July – 10.30am – 1.15pm – INTEREST MORNING
BOLDNESS AND THEATRICALITY: The Baroque (c.1580-1720)
Vivienne LAWES  BA (Hons) MA

This Interest Morning explores the cultural climate and the stylistic motifs that made the Baroque such a long-lived and intellectually rich international style. The Baroque style emerged in the late 16th century, spanning the whole of the 17th century and beyond. It was a period in which notions of the exotic and the dramatic found fertile intellectual ground. This was reflected in the fine and decorative arts, from the virtuoso sculpture of Bernini, the floral marquetry of Northern European furniture and the auricular style of the silver creations of the brilliant van Vianen brothers, to the English court style of William and Mary under the rigorous eye of Daniel Marot. It was also the period in which conscious appreciation of everyday objects as ‘antiques’ germinated.

Viv Lawes is a lecturer, curator, author and journalist, with twenty-five years’ experience in the art market. She studied History/ History of Art for her BA (Hons) at York University, followed by an MA in Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby’s Institute, London. Viv leads the Modern and Contemporary Unit of the East Asian Art Semester Programme at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and teaches the History of Western Design at the City & Guilds of London Art School. She also teaches at the University of the Arts London and L’Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts (IESA), London. As a journalist she has written for many national and international arts publications, including The Art NewspaperAntiques Trade GazetteThe GuardianArt & Auction, Country Life and The Royal Academy Magazine. She is currently working on a book exploring themes in equine sculpture for the Sladmore Gallery, London, and regularly writes artists’ catalogues. Viv is UK consultant to Singapore gallery One East Asia and has co-curated many exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore since 2011.

Friday 19 July

THE HONOURABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY: East-West trade 1600-1800, Chinese Export and Chinoiserie

Vivienne LAWES  BA (Hons) MA

This lecture explores the way in which the East India Company developed its methods of trade and facilitated the increasingly sophisticated and profound exchange of ideas between East and West. It focuses on textile design as the vehicle for this analysis, but also includes variables such as wallpaper, porcelain and furniture, as well as the vast commercial trade in spices and tea.

Concentrating at first on the 17th century textile trade with India, the lecture shows how the East India Company established a methodology for sending out textile patterns to be copied by the local weavers and dyers, paving the way for the production of chintz – now considered to be a classic expression of English style.

The lecture then turns to the 18th century and the trade with Imperial China.  The currency and balance of trade between the two countries is examined, and methods of production are illustrated with a number of Chinese export pieces, predominantly Chinese painted silks but also including furniture and porcelain.

The distinction is then drawn between Chinese export wares and the Western practice of Chinoiserie, looking at how both fitted with the prevailing styles of Baroque and Rococo in the West. The lecture finishes with a contextual analysis of the tea trade.

Friday 23 August
FOREIGNERS IN LONDON 1520 – 1677: The Artists that Changed the Course of British Art

Why were foreign painters preferred by the aristocracy in London to native-born English painters, why did foreigners come in the first place, what was their motivation, what was the impact of foreigners in London on English art and art practise, how were they greeted by the native born artist and what did they bring to artistic practise in London?

Through the lens of art we will look at this period via the various formats and uses of art, tracing foreign artists from the Tudor period through to the Renaissance and Baroque, looking at their origins and how they came to work in England. It will examine the contributions of artists such as Hans Holbein the younger, Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, Lucas and Susanna Horenbout, Isaac Oliver, Paulus van Somer, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely, Peter Paul Rubens and many other lesser known artists from these periods. This lecture will look at how these artists influenced the British School of painting assessing their legacy and how they changed the course of British art.


Leslie Primo holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London.  He specialises in early Medieval and Renaissance studies, including, Italian Renaissance Drawing, Art and Architecture in Europe 1250-1400, Art and Architecture in Europe 1400-1500, Medici and Patronage, Narrative Painting in the Age of Giotto, the work of Peter Paul Rubens and Greek Myth in paintings. He was Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading and gives lectures and guided tours, plus special talks, at both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.  He also lectures at the City Literary Institute and has presented a series of talks at the National Maritime Museum and the Courtauld Institute.

Wednesday 18 September – 10.30am – 1.15pm – INTEREST MORNING
Christopher BRADLEY  B Eng (Hons) FRGS

The Silk Road extended over 8,000 kms from China through Central Asia to the Mediterranean. With the Greek invasion of Alexander the Great, early Persian routes spread East towards India, until stability finally allowed the Chinese to trade silk, jade and ceramics in exchange for horses, pearls and gold. Silk was just one of the many products traded for 1,400 years, but the route also acted as a highway for beliefs, ideas, inventions and art. Buddhism spread throughout Western China and there are wonderful paintings from the Magao caves at Dunhuang and the ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ at Bezeklik in the Flaming Mountains. Central Asia was the main link with the West where many trading cities became wealthy and important centres for the arts. Samarkand and Bukhara are the beginning of the great Islamic buildings that continue through Persia and Syria. The Roman Empire was the destination of silk and all the other commodities which eventually arrived at the Mediterranean coast. Along the way of this great journey we will see traditional murals, ceramics, statues, carpets, architecture, mosaics, tile-work, rock-carvings and of course, silk itself.

Christopher Bradley is a NADFAS lecturer who began his career as a civil engineer.  He is now an expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa and a professional tour guide and lecturer. He is the writer and photographer of a dozen travel guidebooks of the Middle East and North Africa.  A lifelong interest has been art deco buildings and decoration from around the world. Many of his photographs are represented by leading worldwide photographic libraries, including the Royal Geographical Society, of which he is also a Fellow. As a television documentary film-maker he has worked as cameraman and producer for National Geographic, BBC and Channel 4. He still leads a number of adventure tours each year and is a keen cyclist in his spare time.

Friday 20 September
STYLISH TIMES: Art Deco Design and Building Decoration
Christopher BRADLEY  B Eng (Hons) FRGS

Art Deco architecture from the 1920s and 30s has a style and appeal that is immediately recognizable and distinctive. At that time, modern precision machining could produce perfect straight lines and curves that enhanced all aspects of these unique forward-looking designs for cinemas, hotels, theatres, offices, shops and homes. Popular features include streamlining, sunbursts, ziggurats, eyebrows, frozen fountains, Egyptian themes and nautical designs, all depicted in wonderful pastel shades. Rapid redevelopment between the world wars saw this modernistic movement spread into the new suburbs of our greatest cities, whilst the expanding film industry also used art deco design as the perfect way to attract cinema-goers into the surreal surroundings of the picture palaces, many of which are disappearing today. This unique architecture and art history is revealed by using the most impressive examples from around the world – South Beach Miami, Napier, Cairo and Mumbai as well as the best art deco within Australia.

Friday 18 October
BRAZILIAN ODYSSEY: The Works of the Landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx
Marilyn ELM  BA (Hons) MA LD

Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994) was Latin America’s most influential twentieth century landscape architect and an internationally renowned figure in the modern arts. A multitalented artist, he was witness and contributor to a broad form of expression. Trained as a painter and musician, he practiced simultaneously in diverse media, including drawing, painting, etching, sculpture, tile mosaics, tapestry, printmaking and landscape design. As an amateur botanist and expert horticulturalist, he also gathered an important collection of plant species. He collaborated with most of the Brazilian architects then on the national and international scenes, including Oscar Niemeyer, Rino Levi and Lucio Costa, and associated with Marcel Breuer and Le Corbusier. The Lecture traces his flamboyant and colourful legacy, from Rio de Janeiro to the iconic Brasilia.

Marilyn Elm is a qualified landscape architect and interior designer, she has been involved with art and design for over forty years.   She is an experienced course leader in garden and landscape design and history, and a freelance lecturer and speaker for a variety of organisations, universities and specialist groups, including the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society, WEA, U3A, NADFAS and ADFAS.  Marilyn has run study days, summer schools and conducted garden tours in the UK, including tours travel companies. She has a particular interest in the history of Design, Modernist and contemporary architecture, and in the developing archive collection for Landscape Architecture. Passionate about promoting garden history and our gardening heritage, especially as a social document, she has set up ‘pop-up’ talks for the RHS, published articles, and broadcast for BBC television and radio, and the Discovery Channel. She is a founder member of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust and a Member of the Garden Media Guild.

Friday 6 December – 10.30am


Queensland Terrace,

State Library of Qld                       

(RSVP by 30 November)



The State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane.
Please be seated by 10.25am as sessions begin at 10.30am sharp


Non-ADFAS members are invited to attend lectures and Interest Events as Guests however they must be registered beforehand by telephoning Maria Hansen on 3374 3530 or by email to

Lecture – $30 per person ($25 other ADFAS society members)
Interest Events – $65 per guest


The annual membership subscription is $195.00

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