“It’s the first work you see as you enter the new wing of the Art Gallery of NSW”, I texted my colleague and friend, Lisa. Her partner, Genevieve is the artist responsible for the work which re-imagines historical photographs of Aboriginal people as contemporary videos. “She did that fifteen years or so ago”, Lisa told me, anxious to pass on the news to Genevieve about her work’s prominent role.
The new Indigenous art space is amazing. While the much smaller space at the Art Gallery would often concentrate on a smaller body of works – be they “contemporary” or more “traditional” – the new, larger space gives you a much more holistic video of “Indigenous art”.
I remember going to a talk a few years ago about the planned expansion of the gallery, but I remember thinking it seemed like such a long way into the future. And then, all of a sudden it was complete and opened last weekend to record crowds.
Not being one for crowds, I held off until this weekend.
Before visiting, I was interested also in the views of Rod from Geelong who often comments on this blog. “Yes, it’s magnificent. I couldn’t do it all in one visit. Took me three visits just to see all of the new north building”, he told me in a text.
Despite the weather in Sydney today – it’s a bit cold and wet – there were still big crowds at the gallery. Sydney loves something new. I spent a couple of hours only skimming the surface of what was on display. I decided it would be best to come back on a weekday when there are fewer people attending.
But one thing I wanted to see today was a space called “The Tank”, named after the oil tanks which inhabited the space during World War II. They’ve updated the space and turned it into a gallery.
“You’ll need to adjust your eyes to the dark”, the guide told us, as we entered the space.
Inside, with only minimal lighting is a series of large “animals/creatures”. I spent a fair bit of time absorbing both the enormity of the works, as well as the finer details.
My conclusion was they were kind of like coral in some ways, combining both the micro and the macro in their beauty.