Friday, November 02, 2012

The National Gallery of Australia

Full of amazing food and wine, our next stop on our weekend in Canberra as part of the Human Brochure initiative was the National Gallery of Australia.

We took in the pieces outside, including Diamonds above the bus, the collection of pears and the big silver ball with Indigenous animal symbols depicted on it.

Once inside, we were immediately impressed with the vast interior.  Our group was split into two, and Carly and I were led with half of the group on a thorough guided walk through of the Indigenous collection.

First up was the very confronting and moving walk through the Aboriginal Memorial, which is a path through 200 hollow log coffins.  Symbolising the number of Indigenous deaths since colonial occupation from 1788 and 1988, with each pole representing a year of those dates.  43 artists contributed to this work, and being among those burial pieces is powerful.

Our guide was passionate and so informed about the art work she pointed out to us - clearly someone who loves her job.  She took us through the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.  This is right through from paint on bark sections, to contemporary sculpture and interpretive, contemporary and political pieces.

In the next half of our tour of the Gallery, we were taken into the European and American Art Collection, and shown Jackson Pollock's controversial and NGA's expensive acquisition, Blue Poles.

From this point of the Gallery, I wandered to take in Andy Warhol's Elvis and Electric Chair, and Monet's Waterlilies.  Highlights of an extensive collection, rooms of exploration! Sadly, much more time than we had is needed here for the pieces and rooms on display.  Next time!

Part of our visit included the opportunity to see the current exhibit of Sydney Long's work.  These rooms depicted Long's vast array of works - with the room of dreamy Flamingos stand outs for me, in addition to his fantasy-like Art Nouveau pieces.

The decoration Sadder than a single star.... is one I lingered a little longer in front of - just gorgeous!

This collection also included some very early landscapes of the streets of Sydney, as well as paintings showing a canal of Bruges, and Collins Street in Melbourne. So many of his Art Nouveau paintings had a moon positioned in the middle, so magical.

The Sydney Long exhibit is on until November 11, and well worth the small additional entry fee.

This post is part of the #humanbrochure weekend to showcase Canberra as a destination, which I attended as a Plus One, with Carly Findlay.  We were part of the Food and Wine Stream, in the Australian Capital Territory Tourism initiative. 


  1. This gallery looks awesome. Been wanting to go here for a while so it looks like another trip to Canberra for me! I especially love Andy Warhol. The Indigenous art collection also sounds great.

    1. It was pretty impressive. We had such a small amount of time - a place to visit on return, for sure!

  2. Great post! I really wanted to spend more one here - perhaps another trip is needed?
    Sad I missed Sydney Long but I will look him up online - lazy man's way I guess?
    I am looking forward to writing up my post :)


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