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National Gallery of Australia is one of the largest art museums in Australia with more than 166.000 works of art displayed inside that comes from various continents in the world.
Visit the National Gallery of Australia and see the arts from all around the world
The idea to build a house for the art collections belong to government has been spoken since 1910 by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher and has been a priority of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board. However, at that time, Canberra was going through two world wars and depression that made the governments considered for more pressing priorities. On 1 November 1967, the Australian Prime Minister formally announced that the building will be constructed. The construction itself was started 6 years later and the gallery was finally opened in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II. The building also won the won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Canberra Medallion and is listed on Australia's Register of the National Estate in the same year.
On the section that displays Australian Art, you will see a lot of collections, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and objects. These collections might be different as what visitors expect to see from Australia because the gallery chose to display collections to tell the Australian experience and what it is to be an Australian. The collections inside this section is regularly changed to show the wide collections that the gallery has and to build up layers of meaning and experience. On the different section in the gallery, you will also see the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, where the people of these areas have existed in Australia for tens of thousands of years.
The art and tradition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have been considered as one of the oldest and richest in human history, which is why you will see a lot of objects represent the ritual, dance, body painting, and other things used by the ancestors. Here, you will learn the story of the old tradition, where art is inseparable from everyday life. Even though the people may diverse and time flows, the art still images one thing, the land and peoples' relationship with it. The National Gallery of Australia currently has more than 7500 collections, that is the largest in the world. This dedicated area for the collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art highlights the diversity, richness and excellence of the collection. One of the most popular is the art from Northern Territory in Australia called Ramingining.
The National Gallery of Australia is also known to have the most broadly representative art collection from Asia in the entire Australia. There are a lot of sculptures, textiles, paintings, and manuscripts from all over Asia that picture both specific and mixed cultures, ideas, and influential narratives. There are a lot of collections come from countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Cambodia, East Asia, and South Asia. Here, visitors can see the important art-historical periods and sculptures that represent the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Islamic, and animist. There are some Central Asian costumes and images of celestial beings, mythical creatures, and powerful symbols related to the beliefs of Asian people. The National Gallery of Australia often works with contemporary artists from Asia as well for the International and Contemporary Art galleries and the Sculpture Garden.
In the European and American Art section, you will see the wide collection of modern art, from the mid-nineteenth century until the present day. The collections display the diverse creative practices of modern and contemporary artists in the form of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other forms of art. The collections displayed are also rotated regularly so that the gallery can show you something different each time you visit. National Gallery of Australia currently has a small collection of European old master paintings that are on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the museums exhibited works by Pacific artists to represent their communities from western anthropological viewpoint. The collection of the gallery was guided by some known names to bring some of the finest works from the Pacific. The collections include works from Papua New Guinea, Maori art, and Vanuatu. Through the collection, visitors will be able to see the tradition of the Melanesian and Polynesian people.
How to Get Tickets?
The admission to the National Gallery of Australia is free, though you might need to pay for some of the special exhibitions. The ticket for these exhibitions can be bought on the spot. The gallery is open every day except on Christmas Day.
How To Get Around?
To get around, you will have to go by foot. For those in need, wheelchairs and mobile scooters are available from the cloakroom. It is advised to inform the gallery before you visit so that they can provide it for you when you are coming.
What Should I Wear?
There is no recommendation on what to wear to visit the National Gallery of Australia. You might want to wear nice clothes if you want to take pictures with the collections inside the gallery.
Best Time to Visit
It is better to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowd. If you are going to visit the Skyspace that is located just outside the gallery, then you can check the official website to know the best time to visit.
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Will I Need a Guide?
The gallery is a self-guided tour. For those in need, you can request for sign-interpreted lectures or ask for the braille guide to the gallery.
How To Get There?
If you want to use the public transport, then you can ride the ACTION bus and stop whether on King Edward Terrace or Parkes Place East that is only a short walk from the gallery.