Is it another great winter exhibition? NGV Vienna: Art & Design

Vienna: Art & Design (image from NGV website)

For the past few years since I started visiting National Gallery of Victoria with more serious intention of experiencing art, they have impressed with every winter exhibition. There was the European Masters, The Impressionists, Dali and Picasso. The quality of work displayed are amazing and it is always a great learning experience.

According to the member newsletter email, before the exhibition opens to the public on Saturday the 18th of June, there will be a member-exclusive ‘preview’ opening on the 17th. For $18 admission for a member, this will be a great opportunity to take your time to admire the works without being pushed around by all these tourists, student groups and other art lovers. Though it is probably slightly easier, those member preview days are very popular among NGV members, so avoid the peak hour and go the first thing in the morning if it is possible for you. I may make it in the evening, but I’ll see how I go. If you do go and see me there, please don’t be shy and say hello!

For the members, there will be a couple of ‘member free day’, two of them during the duration of exhibition as usual. Currently they seem to be listed as 28 August and 16 September. But keep checking the exhibition programme on NGV site, as the dates and times may change.

Enjoy great pieces of art and use the inspiration in our own creative work 🙂


Kaius at NGV Kids Space

Sure, Member’s Lounge is a cool place to meet new people. But it never gave me as much artistic inspiration“, says little Kaius. “Nothing’s within my reach! No drinks, no computer with lots of buttons, nothing! It’s as if it is designed for those tall people. It is outrageous! I’m a visitor too you know. You wanna see my member card?

It seems NGV has listened. Continue reading Kaius at NGV Kids Space

Luminous Cities

NGV is hosting another interesting looking free exhibition of historical photographs. This time it is collected from NGV’s collection of photographic printed works with themes around city. It is looking pretty interesting, seeing some of the clips they sent out in their email and on their event page.

(image borrowed from NGV newsletter)
(image borrowed from NGV website)
(image borrowed from NGV website)

If you are a NGV member, or if you have a friend who is a member (hint hint!), there is a member-exclusive (can accompany guest) preview on the day before the official opening. I’ve visited other exhibitions on such occasion, and I tell you, it is the best. It is so quiet, and you get to stare at each work for as long as you want until you are satisfied, without anyone pushing past you. Generally at those free exhibitions only people who are really interested in the works are around, but still it is so much better on the member-only day.

The exhibition will be running until next year, but make your way there when you have a chance. I’m sure you’ll want to go back for more, just to take in your favourite piece again and again…

Luminous Cities

NGV International (St Kilda Road), 3rd level Photography room

Member Preview
2-5pm, Thursday 21 October 2010

Exhibition from 22 October 2010 to 13 March 2011

Free admission

Shadows of Life – performance of Indonesian & Balinese music and play


shape of history


I was at NGV on Sunday. It is one of my semi-regular routine when I’m in town. Being a member of NGV, I make the best use of access to the member lounge and its free coffee. I noticed there was that familiar set of instruments being set up in the hall while making my way to the member room. I had my quick coffee and left rather noisy lounge, I met one of the security guys and started chatting. While we were chatting about his work, his interest in photography, etc. his colleagues passed us by and updated him on the schedule for the event. Apparently it was the event organised around Indonesian Culture Day in Melbourne, and there were going to be some music and dances. I decided to stick around for it, rather than moving on to the other building of NGV (Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square).


rich culture





There was nobody inside yet, but I was told there would be a couple of musicians playing outside before things got under way inside. Beyond the glass pane with water screen, I saw a couple of men sitting on the ground in the forecourt.


Agung - with that familiar smile of Balinese peole


I was down on my knees waiting for the people in front of me to move on, when this man came to talk to me. Agung was clearly a part of the group performing today. People talk about Thailand as the place of thousand smiles. And I’ve seen many friendly smiling people on the train and local restaurant and all those non-touristy place across Thailand. But he reminded me of one of my best memories – Bali. It was back in the mid ’90s when I was leaving Perth where I’d lived for a year and on my way to my hometown of Osaka. The cheapest ticket turned out to be the Garuda flights that connected at Denpasar and Jakarta. I walked around the back streets and laneways of that town, where I’d see no other ‘visitors’ and talked to lots of local people. There were kids selling cigarettes and water on the street, and they’d tell me about their life. Some were Balinese, others were Javanese. Their stories were different but equally interesting, and I’d learnt so much more by talking to those kids on the street more than what I might have read in the subject about rural society in SouthEast Asia that I’d completed the semester before. Everyone was extremely friendly and smiling. They were nothing like those you meet on the beach and resort area where all they do is calling you a president and asking you to buy some handcraft souvenirs or massage or whatever else. Those people had respect for the visitors in their island and they did everything they can to make me feel welcomed. I walked into a school yard in the evening as the school just finished and kids were playing around and slowing walking home. Dozens of kids come running towards me and greeted me with hello’s. High-school girls had that shy smile of our younger days and still gave me the most beautiful smile as I captured them on my limited supply of Kodak Echtachrome films. Walking around the dark and dusty local market, I became friends with a guy who was organising bike parking. He took me to the canteen and bought me a drink of coke. It was nice to be in the shade upstairs of the market and the cold drink felt good. I realised later that having a drink in a local hygene condition especially with ice cube made in their fridge can be pretty dangerous for our stomach that are only accustomed to extreme hygene conditions of our modern society. I was on bed even while waiting for my flight at the airport that night, but I had no regrets. It was the place of friendly, polite and respectful people.

Agung reminded me of that.


friends in tune



inspired by the emotions in the music



team work






friendly greetings


See, that is exactly what I remember – those shy friendly smiles!


young audience


The performance got underway. There was a photographer who seemed to be making official images. I could tell he knew what he was doing and capturing the typical event photography, so I decided to capture only a few shots of the audience, almost forget about the dancing on the centre stage, but look for something among the musicians and those dancers back stage.


dance of the god



stage at NGV


To be honest, I was more interested in real people working on the background, rather than familiar dances that were taking place under spotlight.


concentrating on the story



forget the sweetness



young deers back stage



waiting for their part



up next















behind the puppet



reviewing his moves in his mind



gorgeous young deers



stars of the future



deep in the emotion



all that glitter



how do I look?



can I see now?


I was poorly prepared for this photo shoot. I had only a couple of lens: one standard/wide manual focus, the other telephoto, and nothing in between, thinking I’d only use my camera for street shooting that day. If I’d known I would have brought the zoom lens that would have been perfect for the job. I ended up switching lenses all the time, one not wide enough, the other too narrow for anything, and I didn’t have the one in between which I could have used for people in a few metre range. But it was fun. We photographers cannot possibly carry all the lenses on the book with us when we go out shooting. Even when we know what the assignment is going to include, we still compromise one way or the other. But what we ought to know is how to make the best of the gear we’ve got. We move around, gain some distance, step very close in, whatever we can physically do, to make our gears work. It is all fun. I love watching people at work and capturing the genuine moment. And genuine moments, here I got.

John Davis: Presence

John Davis: Presence
John Davis: Presence

I had this on my calendar since I saw it in the member magazine from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). In the recent years I grew more interested in all forms of art and began to appreciate having such a quality institution in the town I live in. I didn’t feel so good about creative energy when I was in Singapore. They have their history behind their dealing with art and they’ve changed quite a bit in the recent years, but one cannot beat a state like Victoria where there has always been appreciation and support for art in community.

Continue reading John Davis: Presence