OK, this is just between you, Dear Reader, and me, agreed? You are not to mention this to anyone or all my intellectual atheism street cred (yes, yes I do) is gone. Ready?
The chap without the fancy clothes is our John McCarthy, Ambassador to the Vatican, recently presenting my map of “Aboriginal Australia” to the mediaeval gentleman on the right. When he picked up a copy of the map in Canberra, Mr McCarthy said “he was keen to hang the Aboriginal Languages Map in the Vatican and mentioned that he will present a copy to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to show what Australia looked like before European arrival”. Um ok John, good stuff, but it isn’t a languages map. Never mind.
Anyway, feel balanced now. Some years ago, on his visit to Australia, the Dalai Lama was also presented with a copy of the Map. As was Bill Clinton. I didn’t actually meet any of these gentlemen, the handing over being done by others, but it remains kinda nice to think of my map going off to all corners of the globe.
Oh, and then there was this:
Good chap Imants Tillers. I did meet him, bumping into him by a fluke, having discovered by chance that the work had been done and was part of an exhibition of Tillers’ work at the National Gallery of Australia. Had walked around a corner and there it was. My work of art turned into another work of art. I sat in front of it for some time. May have been a tear in my eye, may not have been.
Wonder how the Pope will feel, seeing it on his wall?