Let's see the world from so many color perspective
| Get wild at NGV (Part 1)
“If I was White
I would have been counted in the Census since 1901.
If I was White
I would have a country.
If I was White
I could say my father worked hard to buy this land.
If I was White
I could really identify with Australian TV Soaps.
If I was White
Popular Australian newspapers would print what I want to read.
If you don’t think so
then count how many Black People appear in the weekend social pages.”
… Have you ever been treated differently because of the way you look?
A Vernon Ah Kee’s thought as a critique specifically of Black/White dichotomy in Australia – based on his own experience – gave us a warm welcome. Well said, it spoke directly to audiences as soon as we entered Indigenous Art section. Yes, for those who know me would’ve been understand that I don’t mind for being kidnapped and compelled to get myself lost at art gallery and enjoy artworks. As a matter of a fact, I consider it as a part of self-indulgent. :- )
As we know that NGV is spreaded into two buildings: Ian Potter Centre-NGV Australia and NGV Internatonal (on St. Kilda Road). The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Australia is the world’s first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art.It is home to the Australian art collection. I’ve visited the place for three times, but it keeps attract me to come back for more and more. This gallery is located at Federation Square (Fed Square), one of Melbourne’s landmark. Skipping this place when you visit Melbourne means a tremendous sin, I reckon!
There you’ll find yourself amused by diverse and dynamic range of exhibitions. Starting from the Indigenous Art, there were tremendous amount of collections to enjoy and ponder, including works by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. It ranging from paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, and crafting.
Just take a look at rhythmical monochrome of “Big Yam Dreaming” by Emily Kam Kngwarray. The artist was inspired by her dreaming about a native pencil yam plant and the sacred place where it grows. The white on black depicted the veins on the body of land from above. Don’t forget to have a close scrutiny to “Possum Skin cloak:Black fella Road” by Lorraine Connelly-Northey, who amazingly transformed weathered iron,tin,fencing, barbed wire, and wire ties to a stunning piece of artwork. This has signified the artist’s despair about the desecration of Aboriginal skeletal remains due to the constructions of a road. Then you’ll be amused by bark paintings by Gulumbu Yunupingu told us stories about constellations of stars in the night sky. There were also authentic “Eagle Story” told by Kantjupayi Benson in form of handcrafted-doll made of wool, wire, human hair, raffia, gauze, and found objects (spinifex, grass, and Eucalyptus). They narrate a story about the eagle man burnt the crow woman (his first wife) because she had killed galah (his second wife) due to her jealousy.
Up on second level, you’ll find heaps of gorgeous painting collections! Immense works from Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Arthur Streeton, John Perceval, Margaret Preston, Bill Henson, Howard Arkley and Fred Williams are featured there. I just couldn’t get my eyes stopped from staring at those miraculous masterpieces. There was a time when I got myself hypnotized by the tranquil exotism of two circling-framed paintings of Arthur Loureiro: “The spirit of the new moon” and “The spirit of the Southern Cross” (both from 1888), which was so poetical to me. The atmosphere of early Australian landscape and livelihoods were graciously depicted in many collections as well, such as “Swanston Street from the Bridge” (1861) by Henry Burn. Also Frederick McCubbin with “Home again” (1884) and “The Pioneer” (1904) as his greatest statement on the origins and aspirations of Australia as the new country. When I stared The Pioneer, it felt like I could find three different generations being captured within one canvas.
From abstract, surrealism, impressionism, to expressionism, you name it. Hell yeah! NGV is both home and heaven for the connoisseurs. Arthur Boyd with “Joseph Borwn”, Albert Tucker with “Self-portrait”, Sidney Nolan with his group of works, and series of John Perceval’s paintings. Not to mention James Gleeson with “We inhabit the corrosive littoral of habit” by which corrosion of the world and the human mind as a result of a war were being well-illustrated. There were also many other selections you shouldn’t missed, such as infinite variations of Indigenous shields which were not only beautiful, but also powerful and, some say symbolising early lives on plains of Australia. Photograph was also featured as parts of tribute to art. Works of photography has it’s own place. One that amazed me most were black and white portrait photographs exhibiting the character transformation of human face from young to old.
Up on third level, was special chamber in which special features being presented by NGV. On that time, I was lucky to have “Fashion Detective” exhibition. It displayed highly valuable collections of fashion and how they had been brought to early Australian society. Let’s say 1867 Boots designed by Jean-Louis Francois Pinet, a 1885-Bodice from France, a 1890 Cape made of Tasmanian platypus fur, and an Empress crinoline frame made of flexible steel hoops by which was needed for a fashionable silhouette but remained unseen under layers of garments. And there were also abundance of gowns and dresses. From 1885 mourning gown of made by MME Delbarre to 1906 Sheet music, fancy dress attributed to Miss Geddes. A 1882 black child’s mourning dress was also displayed to represent dress etiquette as a grieving symbols which had been developed in Victorian times following Queen Victoria’s reaction to her husband’s death in 1861.
Given that I should only use one word to wrap up my journey to NGV, PRODIGIOUS is probably the word I’d like to use…
G-Day, everyone! And see ya on my next journey…
_Ira Febriana Sari_