Many years ago, after I had returned from French Indo-China trip and had watched a game of polo in Bowral, in the Southern Highland, for the first time, I stepped into the world of NSW Art Gallery. The Art Gallery of New South Wales sits in a magnificent site; surrounded by Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, State Library of NSW and the CBD. It is a treasure trove of heritage art collections. It was the time when the Gallery was about to launch it’s new concept to engage with Asian art collectors. A section of the exhibition was dedicated to Asian art. This new display is called VisaAsia. I personally loved the idea that Asia was going to displayed extensively with European, Australian and Aboriginal art works.
The Gallery was established in 1871 and has a great collection both contemporary and modern art. The splendid Grand Courts display the colonial and 19th century Australian and European master pieces, It is fascinating to see works by Eugène Delacroix, John Constable, Ford Madox Brown, Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro in the Grand Court.
Every time, I have been to the Gallery, whether to attend the launch of exhibition such as “Goddess : Divine energy” or a loan exhibition from the Al-Sabah Collection, Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait National Museum or Rolls-Royce’s art talk by Shetty on his 20th Biennale of Sydney work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales or the most sought-after Archibald Prize; I am amazed with the works of various artists on display.
The most recent exhibition that I have attended at the Gallery, on ‘Making Modernism’ with artists such as O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith, was simply just an explosion of colours.
I feel, that the Gallery will always be a part of Sydney and will keep help shaping the cultured Australian mindset.
The mindset that is transforming Australian understanding about cultural heritage and artists. The Gallery has definitely painted a colourful history of art and heritage over the last 130 years and adding VisAsia section, it has transformed the Gallery’s collection to new dimension. The gallery has long been part of the local and global audiences but VisAsia section definitely brings the Gallery closer to Asia with live performances such as Durga Puja, the Gallery is playing an amazing role to teach, learn and participate in diverse cultural experiences. The gallery to me is like a sketchbook which keeps adding new pages and the grand plan to transform the art gallery into an art museum, will definitely be great step in the right direction. The Art Gallery of NSW has definitely enriched my understanding and experience about the art world in Land Down Under.
Note: VisAsia holds exhibitions frequently celebrating outstanding Asia Art. Find more info here.