Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is about an hour of walk from my hotel in Newtown is a precious art space with the richness of its permanent and temporary exhibitions, two different eating areas including a fine dining restaurant and for me more importantly, with its Yiribana Gallery completely devoted to the aboriginal art.
During my May 2017 visit to the gallery, which does not charge an entrance fee except for certain special exhibits, hosts two temporary exhibits – “Adman: Warhol before pop” and the exhibit of John Olsen’s works, one of the most renowned Australian artists. I however give all my attention to the Yiribana Gallery, which is home to both aboriginal art work and art work discussing – in mostly a criticizing manner – the relation between white Australia and the aboriginals. There are many art works depicting the “dreams” of the aboriginals – a concept which is quite hard to describe and referred to as parts of singing maps in the famous Bruce Chatwin book titled “Songline” devoted to the subject. The gallery also displays videos of the interviews made with the aboriginal artists. While the aboriginal artwork is highly praised in Australia, there has unfortunately been numerous incidents involving fake aboriginal art in the last 10 years. I read that even the Art Gallery of New South Wales purchased some of these artworks later found to be fake. Even though my focus is on the aboriginal art this time, the gallery is also home to a reputable collection of western and Asian art.
You can easily combine a trip to the Art Gallery of New South Wales with a lunch at the outskirts of the trendy Sydney neighborhood, Surry Hills, which is home to many artists. On the alternative, you can combine the gallery trio with a visit to nearby State Library of New South Wales, which is a 5 mn walk from the gallery and open to public.