Monday, February 20, 2017


Lila Seewoosurrun-Sadaful, NGV International. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
I spent a couple of thoroughly enjoyable hours today with Lila Seewoosurrun-Sadaful at the NGV International. Lila is in Melbourne for the next two years undertaking an MA by research in Urban Planning at The University of Melbourne and I met up with her at the Gallery in order to introduce her to one aspect of Melbourne under the Welcome to Melbourne mentoring scheme arranged by the University Alumni Association.
Lila is married with two children and has been a town planner in Mauritius for over a decade. She has a strong work ethic, has experience working with engineers as well as being in charge of building inspectors, which she herself has undertaken. Her MA in Urban Planning will augment her extensive skills base and has equity at its core; for much of existing land in Mauritius is currently used to construct high rise buildings, whereas many living in poverty on the island's flat land will be at the mercy of floods due to the affect of climate change on the small island. Lila hopes that her study will enable her to improve the future housing conditions of those in need.
Lila, NGV International. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
I took Lila to the National Gallery (International) because I wanted to share my interest in contemporary art, however the gallery was in the process of setting up new exhibitions. Instead, Lila and I spent time looking at Mexican and Egyptian stone work sculptures and 17th - 19th Century paintings. I don't remember ever seeing Rembrandt's self portrait and portrait of an old man together, so that was a highlight for me. Lila was impressed by the intricate attention to detail of the clothing and she especially liked a painting depicting two young children surrounded by dogs.
Lila, NGV International. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
We had coffee outside the Arts Centre because the day, which had begun in typical Melbourne style - cold, grey and overcast, was finally sunny. I have to admit that I could have spent much more time listening to Lila's beautiful French accent and feel honored to have meet such a gentle soul.

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