Footy and Art Collide

I do love our Ian Potter Gallery (NGV) in Federation Square. It’s just the right scale and is light and bright (unlike the gloomy mausoleum down the road which is grey, vaulty, clattery and unfriendly). I like to see the way the art is moved around every few months and invariably go in on spec and am always blown away by the new exhibitions.


On a recent trip to the desert we came upon Hermannsburg and the old mission. The town was depressing with banners across the supermarket warning against domestic violence, broken vehicles abandoned in gardens and an air of neglect in the mission where Namatjira’s art lies dusty and unloved. To then stumble across Our Land is Alive by the Hermannsburg Potters in our Ian Potter was more thrilling than I can express.

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Not only had they made marvellous pots but by decorating them with footy scenes and the finest indigenous players, these pots leapt off their plinths. My photos don’t do justice to the colours and the positive energy in the gallery but I have to say the place was buzzing with all ages.

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I’m not the slightest bit interested in footy but I love this exhibition for all that it represents. Some may feel it panders to Western values, but I view it as a meeting place of cultures, a healthy confluence of youth and experience and a dynamic way to promote healing and working together.

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