The Gift – Art Artifacts and Arrivals @ Museum of Australian Democracy

There is a gorgeous exhibition of artifacts of migrants to Australia at the Museum of Australian Democracy currently. The exhibition brings together stories, pictures, art works, photographs and other materials to tell fascinating stories of courage, bravery, loyalty and love woven through the migrant experience.

The stories are illuminated via belts, suitcases, glass artworks and lots of other treasures. One display has a roll of very large pictures of several generations in a refugee families. This exhibition has a focus on Jewish refugees whose stories have the added power of the intensity of their experience post World War Two.

Some pictures below.

 

Waving the Red Flag – Chinese posters 1949 – 1976 @ National Library of Australia

The National Library does history beautifully. Right now there is a remarkable exhibition of Chinese posters from the early Mao era. They are classic, They are stylistic, They embody a fabulous insight into both Chinese history and culture. There is a visual beauty in the twenty simply hing images that draws the eye.

Sample pics are below do not give anything like the strikingness of the real images.

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Biographies – Martin Rowney @ Belconnen Arts Centre

29 July – 20 August 2017

Small targeted exhibitions are often surprisingly interesting.  Martin Rowney has five works on display at the Belconnen Arts Centre around the lives of four people. Each of the art works have unique elements in them that speak to the life and individual and reflect the back story that is displayed on the wall. Each of the works has an artistic interest and merit in itself but become richer with the person’s brief bio in mind.

Rowney is an archaeologist who uses art to communicate elements of his work. The pics and gallery materials are below.

Escape from Pompei @ Australian National Maritime Museum

Historical blockbusters are things I stand in awe of. I love the curation. I love the presence of ancient objects. I love the maps, the quotes, the carvings and the historical backgrounds of materials I have a vague familiarity with.

The big Pompei exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum was a rich education for me. I have taught this topic to year 7 but this exhibition created a deep new understanding from the brief eight minute recreation of the 24 hours that destroyed Pompei. The curators have woven a story of the historical context, the aftermath and the significance. The details, the objects and layout tell a fascinating story and I was enriched by the visit.

See some of the pics below.

The international exhibition of Sherlock Homes @ Powerhouse Museum Sydney

Until October 8

In my six decades of life I do not think Sherlock has been absent from any of those. This exhibition at the Powerhouse is a testament to the multi layered phenomenon that flows from the Arthur Conan Doyle character

The exhibition has wonderful stage sets, ephemera, inter-actives, puzzles to solve and heaps of fascinating text. I loved the complexity of the experience. Grandparents were competing with primary school children to solve mysteries and get their sheets stamped. Lots of people were having fun experiences with the many interactive exhibition elements. People like me followed the museum richness of the space which includes vast amounts of the historical expressions of this phenomena including the many forms of comics, other languages, pottery representations, typed manuscripts and heaps of other fascinating stuff.

The whole exhibition is done in low light and the experience was increased by the constant presence of the hubub of people of all ages.

Some images below give a sense of what the experience is like

Melodrama in Meiji Japan @ National Library of Australia

Exhibition branding for Melodrama in Meiji Japan It is wonderful how many generous people enrich us all with their art gifts to public institutions. The exhibition at the National Library is the result of a collector’s generosity.

100 gorgeous woodblock prints recording the introduction of melodrama into pictorial story telling traditions 100 years ago in Meiji Japan. The elegance of Japanese illustration is there in every print. The emotion and restrained dignity of the images is engaging. The textual explanation is rich and demanding and the experience of the exhibition gives a great historical insight to a period of change in the society of Japan as it absorbs some influences of the west. It also marks a flowering in woodblock printing before more technological techniques took over.

There was a no photographs policy in an exhibition of prints that are all around a hundred years old in public ownership so to look at some samples I have included the web page below.

http://www.nla.gov.au/meiji

 

Dempsey’s People – A folio of street portraits 1824-44 @ National Portrait Gallery

29 June – 22 October 2017

A Portrait Gallery in a newish European transplanted society often lacks lots of the early stuff of the society they try to portray. The current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery focuses on a great set of water colour portraits painted by a traveling artist of people in the streets of English towns and villages during the two decades from 1824-1844. The people range from beggars to match sellers to heaps of other ordinary types of people that lived and worked in the streets at the time.

These are not Australian although they are sourced here, they are a marvelous portrayal of street society at the time the early mass movement of Europeans to Australia was first running. I loved being in the rooms for this. The artist Dempsey has a great eye for unique features in the people he paints. Great fabriccs, great hairstyles, amazing different styles of clothing and a fine representation of the diversity of human personality.

See some of the pics below with a website.

http://portrait.gov.au/exhibitions/dempseys-people-2017