Issue 9
Monday, 05 November 2018
Charles Darwin University
Art teacher Henry Smith (right) breaks protocol by giving the Queen a shoulder squeeze
Art teacher Henry Smith (right) breaks protocol by giving the Queen a shoulder squeeze

Artists give ‘palace’ the royal treatment

By Patrick Nelson

While popular royal couple Harry and Meghan graced Australia’s eastern shores last month, Alice Springs has quietly gone about organising its own royal event, with a bit of help from Charles Darwin University’s art staff.

Senior art teacher Henry Smith said the Alice Springs Heritage event would take place at the Palace in the Alice, otherwise known as The Residency, where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip overnighted during their 1963 tour of the Red Centre.

“The event is being curated by CDU art graduate Pip McManus to celebrate the royal visits to Central Australia,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s part of a move to have a more permanent display at The Residency, which is increasingly being used for art exhibitions.”

Mr Smith said the Queen and Prince Philip would be permanent guests of honour during the month-long exhibition, or at least two full-size cut-outs in their images, would be.

“They look magnificent. The Queen is wearing a sky-blue dress and matching hat with a sprig of lavender. And a patient Prince Philip is looking a little bit regal and a little bit distant in an expensive suit and fancy tie.

“Visitors will be able to pose for a selfie with the royal couple,” he said.

Fellow art teacher Mel Robson and CDU artist-in-residence Tara Leckey will have ceramic works on display, while Media Studies lecturer Mikey Boyce was the second editor in a video production to be screened during the exhibition.

At least two royal visits to the Red Centre have been tinged with drama. In 1977 the Prince of Wales fell ill with Shigella after a luncheon at The Residency. Six years later with the Princess of Wales and baby Prince William in tow, a raging Todd River cut access to the Casino Hotel, forcing a last-gasp search for alternative accommodation.

“Royals at the Res – Curtseys, Chaudfroid and the Shigella Shame” runs until 30 November.