NATASHA Cica sent me an email the other day reminding me I had agreed to do a two thousand-word article for her (this). She wanted to know why MONA is in Tasmania, and she thinks that you might want to also. I needed reminding; I made the commitment over a lunch that included the right amount (too much) wine. The email also thanked me, as a synecdoche for MONA staff, for showing John Ralston Saul around MONA on Tuesday, when it is otherwise closed.
So, of course, I typed ‘John Ralston Saul’ into the Google search bar on my iPad and now I’m an expert on the guy. He certainly has an impressive résumé. Within the Wikipedia article one sentence caught my eye: ‘He argues that Canada’s complex national identity is made up of the “triangular reality” of three nations that compose it: First Peoples, Francophones, and Anglophones. He emphasises the willingness of these Canadian nations to compromise with one another, as opposed to resorting to open confronta- tions.’ There is an improbable implication that Canada, and other locales, would not have a complex national identity without this tolerance triangle.
Mostly monolingual and accidentally genocidal, Tasmania has its own fractured and remade identity, and that characteristic Tasmania managed to preserve my interest, even against the considerable attractions of much larger and more worldly centres of culture that might have been unwilling, but beneficial venues for MONA.
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