One of my favourite 'pop-my-head-in-and-have-a-look-when-I'm-passing' galleries is at the Ian Potter Centre - National Gallery of Victoria (NGV Australia) at Federation Square. The ground floor gallery just behind the reception area is a wonder of all things weird and wonderful created by some highly talented indigenous Australians. I am particularly enamoured of the Totem Poles which are often clustered together in the first gallery - although the exhibitions are always changing. There is something rather majestic and proud about each of them. They stand tall.
|Indigenous Totems - not as tightly packed as usual!|
|Each is different, each represents a different story|
It's such a light and airy space. Of course the NGVA has the enormous Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting in their famed Indigenous Collection and I am also particularly fond of their Clifford Possum paintings but the 'instillation' that stunned me recently was made entirely with wire - it stopped me in my tracks.
Created by Lorraine Connelly-Northey it is titled: Possum skin cloak - Blackfella Road (2011-13) and it's entirely made of weathered iron, tin, fencing and barbed wire, with wire ties.
|It's all wire and metal and much of it is barbed wire - amazing|
Lorraine explains that:
It is her interpretation of a possum-skin cloak. The barbed wire signifies the descecration of Aboriginal skeletal remains, occasioned by the construction of an unsealed road near Swan Hill. The circular forms indicate different modes of transport using the road. The fringe of the cloak represents hunters and gatherers whose remains were descerated.
|Up close you can see the metal hands that surround the instillation - a very powerful image|
I thought it was wonderful from afar, but up close you see the work that has gone into it - and using such harsh materials - it takes it to another level. My fingers hurt just thinking of the bending and weaving that was required. And my heart hurts to hear the story. I encourage you to visit the NGVA - it's never crowded (sadly) and it's always rewarding.