Not many comic strip heroes can lay claim to a two-year travelling Art Show in their honour. Fewer still can say that their regional exhibitions were opened by a former Governor-General of Australia.
On Sunday 5th June 2016, Dame Quentin Bryce and husband Michael graced the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery to officially open The Phantom Art Show exhibition.
Curators Peter Kingston and Dietmar Lederwasch were among the 80-100 Toowoomba phans in attendance, and all were treated to entertaining speeches by both Michael and Dame Quentin.
After an entertaining introduction by Toowoomba Regional Councillor Geoff McDonald, it was Michael who took to the microphone first. He began what seemed like a meandering exposition of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II aircraft, a fighter jet used by the American air force during the Vietnam War.
Some in the crowd were starting to wonder if Michael realised exactly which Phantom he was here to talk about! Everything snapped into focus though, when Michael revealed that he had in fact met a mysterious American pilot who flew a F4 Phantom II and bore the name tag Christoher Walker. Had he, in fact, met The Phantom? Michael closed out his portion of the opening by presenting the curators with his own Phantom artwork - a rendition of the F4 Phantom II.
Dame Quentin then took to the microphone, and she spoke with great aplomb about her memories of The Phantom. Remarkably thought, she almost took the curators to task for their lack of attention to Diana in the show - and with only a few pieces depicting the woman who has been at his side for 80 years, she may have had a point! Dame Quentin was firm in her assertion of Diana as a feminist role model and a strong character in her own right.
It was only towards the end of her presentation that the penny dropped - Dame Quentin, the former Governor-General of Australia, had attended the opening of The Phantom Art Show in cosplay. Dame Quentin was dressed as Diana Palmer!
Beautiful touches like this made the opening of the Art Show a delight to attend. However I must say I am looking forward to going back to the Art Gallery in the coming days and weeks without the crowd, giving me the time to enjoy the artworks in a little more peace and quiet. There are literally dozens and dozens of amazing Phantom art works to examine.
Rest assured, there will be a ChronicleChamber article forthcoming at that time!