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Canberra Museum Season

words by niall roeder

It might be the silly season – that indulgent time of year when most of us have a few days off, the fermented liquid escapes from the liquor cabinet on the reg, clean eating is out the window and big spreads are on the menu – however, that doesn’t mean those floating around the nation’s capital can’t spend some time getting cultured.

Canberra is home to world-class museums and galleries, all of which are boasting an excellent line-up of exhibitions and events for the summer stretch.

National Portrait Gallery
“The NPG, yeah you know me”, isn’t actually the gallery tagline, but we all know it should be. The National Portrait Gallery has seven galleries that are all solely dedicated to portraits (not just a clever name) from different eras, for instance, Gallery Six is currently showing works documenting Australia during the second half of the twentieth century. However Gallery One (following the development of portraiture from oil painting to digital media) and Gallery Two (contemporary portraiture) are our picks of the bunch.

National Gallery of Australia
One of the big dogs when it comes to Australian museums, the National Gallery of Australia offers once in a lifetime exhibitions, such as the current Versailles: Treasures from the Palace – a collection of paintings, intricate tapestries, gilded furniture items, monumental statues and more, all of which had never previously left France. Other notable mentions include the collection of Frank Stella’s ground-breaking prints and Ramesh Nithiyendran’s Mud men.

National Museum Australia
At risk of sounding like an infomercial salesman, NMA has it all. And by that I mean it has world class exhibitions, like A History of the World in 100 Objects, which explores two million years of humanity through artefacts from the British Museum. And also Sundaze, which turns the lakeside deck into a booze-filled party to close the weekend.

Canberra Museum + Gallery
This place doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Despite its very vanilla name, the Canberra Museum + Gallery offers unique exhibitions that specifically dive into the diverse history and contemporary culture of the Canberra region. At the moment they’re showing Mariana del Castillo: Fugitive faith – an exhibition exploring the Canberra-based sculptor’s surreal expression of personal identity, journey and religion, and the use of recycled materials.

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