Unexpected

20 10 2016

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While browsing at Kubrick’s, this blog’s favourite Hong Kong cafe and art book hipster hangout, I stumbled across this strange object earlier in the week and I immediately felt a keen pang of homesickness and nostalgia. It is, in case you are wondering, an essential oil fragrance diffuser, carved out of the case of the Australian banksia bush nut. Such a quintessentially Australian sight, beautiful and yet weirdly alien to the Eurocentric gaze, appearing in a totally unexpected context. I bought it immediately, and I love it. It reminds me of the “banksia men,” villains in the 1918 childrens’ book “The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddle Pie,” which I had once derided as the height of tacky, cringeworthy Australiana kitsch, until I had seen the classic illustrations featured in a shirt by ubercool designer Eley Kishimoto in Tokyo’s So-En magazine: another re-evaluation of something I had once not appreciated.

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