Beer, Wine and Being 18+

“Are you having beer or wine?, the man supervising the bar queue for tonight’s exihibition at UNSW Art & Design asked me. When I told him wine, he said, “come with me”, escorting me to the front of the lengthy queue. Tonight, it seems almost everyone was drinking beer, and so if you wanted wine, there was an express queue.

On the issue of alcohol, both Kate and I (having arrived separately), asked for the wrist bands which confirmed our 18+ ID had been checked. Though we both thought we were being fun and clever, I’m sure those looking after the bar thought we were a bunch of geriatric wankers.

And maybe we were. As a further “sign” of our age, Kate mentioned to a younger woman we chatted with that she had attended “Alexander Mackie College”, a fore-runner to what’s now known as UNSW Art & Design, but which I still refer to as COFA, the “Centre Of Fine Arts”.

I always really like going to student exhibitions. It’s always interesting to see the perspective of the next generation of artists coming through. Some will go on to become important artists, others will pursue an arts career part-time, some will become art teachers, others will never practice art again. Whatever happens with these young people in the future, it’s always fascinating to go to these exhibitions, and to see a snapshot of their current creativity.

Though traditionally COFA was about “fine arts”, UNSW Art & Design now covers off on graphic design. In the graphic design area, the most interesting thing we saw was a student who had re-designed the instructions on tablet bottles, providing a visual representation of when and how to take tablets.  There was also a lovely book which I briefly read called “Nans Of Canberra” which featured images and stories. I really liked a work which talked about kinship including light and dark skin as an issue for many Indigenous people, and I really liked a work which talked about the impact of third-world child exploitation on the creation of so many of the clothes we wear.

I can’t say there was a “wow” moment for me in the work exhibited tonight, but it was still terrific to attend, and lovely to see Kate. As has become the tradition for attending events at UNSW and the National Art School, we ended the night sharing a bottle of wine and pizza at a nearby restaurant.

Here are some of the images I took earlier tonight.

And the wrist-bands? We might keep wearing them.

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