In Review takes a side-step to report on a unique exhibition opening this Friday.

It’s unique not just for the artworks, but because the show Lucubration is intended to raise money for artist Peter Aland to attend a Buddhist meditation retreat -“ for three years
Some of my friends are very supportive, some say -˜you’re mad’, others say -˜what are you going to do for sex’, but some came forward and asked -˜how can I help’? Aland said.

It’s the last impulse Aland thinks might attract visitors -“ and buyers. Aland has shown ten exhibitions, of paintings roughly divided into cityscapes, portraits and still lifes: filled with floating windows, haunted loners and cups of tea.

To make sense of his oeuvre, it’s necessary to trace the road to his current Buddhist goal, a road that was (of course) long, winding and less-travelled-by.

Aland worked as a storeman, waiter and eventually butler to the stars (including Liberace and David Bowie), before being diagnosed HIV positive in 1986.

There was a period where every week you’d open up the Sydney Star Observer and there’d be the obituaries -“ but through painting I felt somehow I was having some connection, Aland said.

The portraits, he explained, were as much of people left behind than of those lost. The windows in the cityscapes reflected the portals into others’ lives suggested by the obituaries.

His diagnosis inspired the creation of Australia’s second AIDS play and then prompted a move to the Northern Rivers. He worked with ACON, helped set up Tropical Fruits, and somewhere along the way, heard a lecture by a visiting Tibetan lama.

Everything that he said rang true, Aland said.

So true in fact, Peter Aland wants to spend three more years just thinking about it.

It’s about -˜bringing the mind home’, he said.

Lucubration: Paintings by Peter Aland opens this Friday 10 September at the Amitabha Foundation, 114 Victoria Road, Rozelle. Phone 9252 6101.

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