On Dark Mofo and the shortest day

Image courtesy of MONA

Hasn’t the shortest day been Hobart’s nicest winter day thus far? (That’s winter starting in April which it did this year). We’ve spent the past week jumping into, or away from puddles, depending on your age.

At Winter Feast Friday, a woman at our table said, ‘I had to stop myself from saying this last night because it’s ridiculous, but I wish Winter Feast was in summer.’
Hobartians have an equivocal relationship to winter. You’ve got to tolerate it a bit to live in the country’s most southern capital, but it’s still a shock to the system when it rolls around again.
It makes for a stylish city though with lots of heavy coats, swathes of scarves, leather gloves, and knee-high boots. Wood-heaters are still preferred for their bone-warming radiant heat. Hobart’s majestic backdrop, Kunanyi, is covered in snow. There are stews and soups, hot chocolate and coffee, whisky or a full-bodied red.
But the city exclaims a collective sigh of relief on winter solstice. It’s one thing to be cold but the dark can be demoralising. If you’re office bound, you can spend weeks without sun. You go to work in the dark and you come home in the dark.
Image courtesy of MONA

I moved here from the tropics where people socialise outdoors all year around. It seemed in Hobart that nobody went out in winter, restaurants closed for holidays and there was nothing much to do.

It’s why I love Dark Mofo so much.
Last night, the Lovely Deputy and I walked around Tyrone Sheather’s Giidanyba; seven light sculptures depicting nocturnal Aboriginal spirits. We waited and watched for Anthony McCall’s
Night Ship under the Tasman Bridge. We’ve also spent time at Dark Park and the Winter Feast, and had the privilege of seeing Antony and the Johnsons play with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Photo courtesy of Bridgette Janice Quinn

They paint the town red for Dark Mofo. Red lighting on Hobart’s iconic landmarks draws disparate parts of the city together. The Grand Chancellor, the Botanical Gardens, the Tasman Bridge and others, glow red and connect Hobart. Our red-themed city creates a special winter identity, making you feel part of something bigger. A smorgasbord of music, art and food on offer, much of it free, means there’s no reason to stay in. And the many light installations invite us to embrace winter, and remind us that the days are about to get longer.


Tonight is the last night of Dark Mofo.
Why do you get out into it?
Here’s our last post about Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast
Here’s our recent post on one of the Winter Feast stallholders, Captain Bligh’s.

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