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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A visit to the Art Gallery

Hi everybody,

This afternoon I had a few hours to kill since my car was at the mechanics. So my daughter and I went with my parents to visit first the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture's garden by the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and then to the National Gallery of Australia. It is nice to be able to enjoy my home town, Canberra, the capital city of Australia. I might make a post another day about the ACCC garden, since it featured a great collection of plants from the Bible with plaques to explain each one.

But today I am going to write about our trip to the National Gallery of Australia (NGA).

The NGA has recently been refurbished so that visitors enter through a grand entrance way. It is a big improvement.

You used to enter the gallery via the bridge on the first floor. Please note the groovy shadow on the wall cast by the hanging sphere. This sculpture is one of my favourites. The bridge joins the NGA to the High Court of Australia, over to the left of this photo.

Outside the gallery are a group of pears. The Pickle asked if she might climb on them. All three adults answered "No!". 
Whenever I see this sculpture I sing a song in my head "Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round" by Queen


Here's the new front door to the NGA. It feels more personal and "human" being able to walk straight in off the street rather than having to ascend to a higher level like an ancient ziggurat. Admission is free, and 98% of the time there is no queue to get in, only a problem when a major exhibition is on and the crowds all flock to see Monet or Picasso or whatever. In that case, an admission fee is charged, just to see that particular exhibition.

 Some tourist posing by this ball give some scale. The ball is carved with Aboriginal symbols.

We went on a walk to a new exhibit, outside in the grounds of the gallery. See that mound covered with grass with a door cut into it? Well that building and the surrounding gardens is known as the "James Turrell Skyspace". Here's a link to a webpage about it which includes a clip from an ABC TV program about it.

Here is a waterfall, providing the tranquil sound of running water.

Beside the pond with the waterfall are some really wide grassy steps.

Remember how I said sometimes you have to queue to get into the gallery? Well there were thousands of visitors to the "Masterpieces from Paris" exhibition, it was a true blockbuster. It would appear their admission fees have funded this new garden.

Native grasses line another pond 

Here are my mum and dad approaching the entrance to the building. It is like entering a barrow tomb. Please note the tacky yellow "danger floor is slippery when wet" sign. Nice one OH&S!

Inside the building...a waist high pool, crystal clear water and a dead worm making the letter S.

This round thing covered in stones is called a "stupa". There are tall red walls all around and you can't see back where you came from. If you look up you can see sky. There are a few eucalypts around up there. The shadows on the walls made me think of a pyramid.

We kept walking around the Stupa which is inside the pool and came to a bridge. The bridge led to a door in the stone structure. Inside it is like a house from Tatuin on Star Wars. The walls are smooth and white. There is a round stone set in the floor. A bench seat runs around the wall. When you sit on it, your bottom feels warm. Dad thought the seat may be heated, but I thought it might have been from the sunny day.
Of course, our natural inclination was to look up. There is a perfectly round hole set into the roof. And a wonky shaped spot from the sunlight beside it. I stared for a while, waiting to see a bird fly past.

Nothing happened. The Pickle did a few turns on the stone in the middle.

Then she put her head on my lap for a little rest on the warm concrete bench.

We walked back out.

  Back up the ramp into the garden again.

One last look back at the mound.

 And then we were off to see the rest of the gallery.

I did not take any photos in there, since photography is not allowed. But we stayed in there for a few hours, stopping for afternoon tea in the cafe and a visit to the gift store. It was a lovely way to spend the day.

In shop news, I have been featured modelling clothes on the front page of Etsy two days in a row now!

And I made a cute size 1 winter pinafore from corduroy and quilter's cotton from the op-shop. It also features an applique heart made from a D9P block leftover from SIL's quilt. Two palm tree buttons, also from the op-shop, complete the look. The dress is actually a bright, Robin Hood sort of green. It is hard to photograph because of the lines in the cord. In the background, you can see the top section of our worm farm, I will tell you more about that later maybe.

Thanks for reading about my blog post, and if you are ever in Australia, make sure you pay a visit to our national institutions here in Canberra. Always well worth a visit.


  1. I would love to visit Australia some day! Looks like fun! Love the dress:)

  2. Wow Hannah, I feel like I was on a guided tour with you speaking on those little earphones many museums rent for a self guided tour. Great pics. You tickle me with commenting on the worm making an "S". Thanks for sharing your adventure. Too bad we couldn't see the inside of the main building.

  3. Lovely tour...thank you for taking us along with you. :)

  4. I love traveling vicariously through all of you! Thank you for the photos.


  5. Great post! Looks like you all had a fun day :)

  6. I loved the tour. Just got home from a museum visit myself. DS, DIL and DGD are visiting from South Carolina and wanted to do the "tourist" thing. We visited the George Eastman House (the father of American photography). Lovely museum. Would love to visit Australia some day.......

  7. I so love seeing pictures from your side of the world. It's a place I'll probably never see otherwise.

  8. You have just increased my desire to visit Australia one day! I was wondering why you all were wearing coats! It's almost 90 degrees here....and then I remembered...it's Fall there! I almost wish it were Fall some of those 90 degree days! Great post!

  9. I totally loved the tour of the museum and garden. You should think up taking another job as a tour guide . .lol ;) I bet that hole in the ceiling would look really cool with the moon shining down in it:) I also loved the picture of the pond with the native grasses on the side . .It was so beautiful with the reflection in the water:) Sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternnon!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your gallery tour with me. I love going to galleries.

  11. LOL AnnMarie, it is winter here since our seasons are the opposite of yours.

    The funny thing is, we only need our coats in winter, not in spring or autumn usually. The weather in those photos is typical of a Canberra winter's day. A bit chilly in the wind, but nice and warm in the sunshine. Clear blue skies with wispy clouds. It is such a beautiful part of the world to live in.
    Even if it is cold, I always feel happy on a sunshiny, clear day.

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone.

  12. This is such a beautiful post! I loved the way you captured the scale and awesome space inside the museum with these great photos. It looks like a wonderful place to visit.

  13. What a beautiful place to spend your time!

  14. Looks like you had a great time. Blessings Niki x

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your trip to the gallery. It was a great blessing and may the Lord bless your Etsy shop and the gifting of your talents. My daughter too has an Etsy shop. She stays home with me because I am not able to care for my home by my self. Her father and I need her, yet she must have some provisions so she does graphics and I try to help our out with those.
    Mrs. J.