Winter has taken its turn in the southern hemisphere, but Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne, always has something to offer — from music performances, poetry readings, to paintings and sculptures. The city's arts and culture scene stays vibrant despite the gloomy weather.
The chilly season is perfect to stay warm inside Melbourne's architecturally unique buildings and enjoy the city's art collections. With numerous galleries, a fine artsy getaway here is guaranteed. Start your journey with visual arts as your compass!
1. National Gallery of Victoria
Hosting works of the greats such as Rembrandt and Bonnard, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is one of the best galleries in Australia. As the oldest public art gallery in the country, it is praised for its vast collection, which currently counts more than 70,000 artworks, many of them world-scale masterpieces.
The gallery building itself is an architectural landmark. Enveloped by glass walls filled with water, it takes you to a different space. There is no way you will be able resist entering this modernist building with such a fancy design.
This winter, you will be mesmerized by the exhibitions NVG has prepared. "Van Gogh and the Seasons," part of the 2017 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, shows how the prominent artist represented the circle of life in his works. Witness the greatness of nature through Van Gogh's eyes from April 28 to July 12.
2. Gertrude Contemporary
Spotted a flock of hipsters queuing up the front of the artspace? It means you are at the right place. Located on 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Getrude Contemporary is a former warehouse that was turned into a gallery in 1985. It has three spaces filled with an array of contemporary artworks by up and coming local and international artists.
The gallery also organizes educational programs to support the development of present-day artists, including the Emerging Writers Programs for visual artists who want to hone their skills in contemporary art criticism. Among other notable programs are residencies for visiting international and interstate artists and curators.
3. Center for Contemporary Photography
Do not leave Fitzroy just yet because there is another gallery on the list, the Center for Contemporary Photography (CCP). It was established in 1986, just a year after Gertrude. Lauded as the "mecca" for both amateur and professional photographers, it showcases the most up-to-date photo-based artworks by established and new artists from around the world. For onlookers and novices, photography is just taking good-looking photos, but you will be surprised by the techniques and processes involved to make photography an art.
CCP also provides workshops and talks for shutterbugs who want to know more about photography. If you are interested to take one, the workshop classes by famed Australian artist and educator Les Walkling run until November.
4. Australian Center for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
You know the very definition of art once you spot ACCA's building. The red, rusty prism-shaped construction designed by Wood Marsh will blow your mind before you even go inside. Located on Sturt Street, Southbank, it goes without saying that the ACCA building is one of Melbourne's beloved icons. You will appreciate contemporary art even more here because it is one of the prime destinations for lovers of daring and experimental works ranging from paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations.
ACCA hosts Claire Lambe's exhibition titled "Mother Holding Something Horrific" until June 25, which you can visit absolutely free of charge. The Melbourne-based, English-born artist presents a psychological approach to issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and class — manifested in sculpture, photography and theatrical mise-en-scène.
From next month until September, ACCA will also assemble the works of eight artists in "Greater Together," an exhibition that reassesses ideas about work, production, and organization in times of uncertainty.
Do not dare call yourself an art fiend before you visit these galleries in Aussie's most creatively charged city. The city will welcome you with open arms and satisfy your artistic curiosity.
Hop on a plane to Melbourne as soon as possible. With five flights per week from Jakarta and Denpasar, Bali, starting your journey to the land of Oz should not be difficult. Click on www.garuda-indonesia.com/australia and make your wanderlust wishes come true.