Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, National Gallery of Victoria International This is the first TAASA Review for some time which is a general issue - that is, it does not focus on a specific topic. Received wisdom has it that TAASA members like 'general' issues ('then there's always something that I'm interested in'). However, the enthusiastic response to, for example, the March 2005 Fashion issue and to the September 2004 Rugs and Textiles issue, did show that focus issues can be very popular too. Perhaps the TAASA Publications Committee should send out a questionnaire asking members what they like, and whether there are any particular subjects on which they'd like the Review to focus. Certainly we'd be happy to receive any suggestions.
Even without a planned focus for this issue, it was surprisingly easy find a common thread running through the articles published here this month. The connection seems to be that many of them tell a nicely personal story. Donna Hinton evaluates her recent experiences teaching conservatorial skills in Vietnam. Composer Bruce Crossman tells us about the influences and ideas which combine to give his compositions 'Asian resonances'. John Millbank and Josefa Green share the excitement they felt while exploring some of the early temple buildings of Shanxi. In Collector's Choice, Ruth Clemens first lovingly describes, and then raises questions about, a Chinese copper handwarmer in her collection. Joyce Burnard's admiration for Janet Mansfield, potter and publisher, really brings her profile of this energetic and accomplished woman to life.
As an editor, I am drawn to personal viewpoints - but they need to be reasonably scholarly too, to attain publication in the Review. Agood example is our cover story, 'The Silken Thread of Hope' by Julian Cribb, where a personal writing style combines with scholarship to illuminate the contribution one artist can make to the culture of a nation whose recent past has been so tragic - Cambodia.
Like all volunteer-run associations, The Asian Arts Society of Australia depends totally on a relatively small number of energetic members to keep things going. Members who were not able to attend TAASA's recent AGM (held 26 April in Sydney) will be pleased to hear that President Judith Rutherford, who had officially stood down from the Management Committee at the end of her three-year elected term, offered herself for reelection, was of course unanimously reelected - and then reaffirmed as President for another three years at the Committee meeting following the AGM. Judith works tirelessly for TAASA, particularly on the NSW Events program (as evidence, see the TAASA Members' Diary on p.25 of this issue).
Following the resignation of Ann MacArthur as TAASA's Vice President earlier this year, Gill Green, who has been responsible for Membership and has acted as Treasurer for many years, stepped in to the Vice Presidency. Gill will retain some Membership responsibilities, but some she will hand over to Susan Miller, who remains as Secretary (for a profile of Susan, see our March 2005 issue). Ann Guild, a former member of TAASA's Management Committee who has been living overseas for some years, was re-elected to the Committee at the AGM and will take over the responsibilities of Treasurer. The full list of the 2005-06 Committee appears at left.
At the AGM, Judith thanked all members of TAASA's Committee of Management for their assistance over the past 12 months. She expressed particular thanks to Ann Macarthur for her significant contribution to the Society, in particular as Editor of TAASA Review up to March 2001, and for invaluable assistance with events at the Art Gallery of NSW. Judith also thanks Jim Masselos, a Foundation member of TAASA, who this year stood down from the Committee after many years of service. Fortunately, both Ann and Jim have agreed to remain members of the Publications Sub-Committee.
Judith also thanked the many other members of the Society who helped out at events and with mailings of TAASA Review throughout the year. Ian Brookes, a Foundation member of TAASA, thanked the Committee for the calibre of its events and publications.
So TAASA enters another year, with its finances in good shape (as reported at the AGM) and with a number of activities planned for both Sydney and Melbourne. But TAASA can only continue if people continue to give their personal time to 'the cause'. Following the 2005 AGM, and looking at the contributions to this issue of the TAASA Review, we can conclude that there is a faithful core of enthusiasts prepared to donate their personal time, knowledge and skills to ensuring that the glories and pleasures of the arts of Asia are appreciated in this country.