I had another “night on the arts” last night, attending Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW with my friend Kate. I think Art After Hours is such a great idea, as so many people I know really only have time on weekends to visit the AGNSW. And so in opening up the gallery until nine o’clock on a Wednesday night, usually with talks, a film, live music, and a glass or two and a meal downstairs, you suddenly find yourself with something new and interesting to do on a weeknight.
We were there last night for a talk hosted by Linda Jaivin with three Chinese born artists whose work featured in this year’s Archibald Prize.
There were several common themes to the experiences of the three artists, despite coming from different backgrounds and from different age groups.
* All three spoke about the classical training in Western artistic traditions they had received either in China (or in Australia) which had influenced their skills in portraiture.
* All three spoke about the vibrancy of the contemporary arts scene in China, and how well artists were supported, with specific mentions made of the 789 area of Beijing.
* All three mentioned how the political structure of China had, in fact, forced artists to be more adventurous, since their works were either censored, or artists self-censored.
* Two of the artists were old enough to remember the Cultural Revolution, and one spoke about his experiences working on a farm, when he would have rather been painting.
* All three spoke about how much fun the Archibald Prize was to enter for the pure “sport” of it all.
All in all, it was a good evening, and kinda interesting that it co-incided with the Olympic Torch Relay arriving in Australia.
I’m sure I’ll be going back to Art After Hours more regularly? Anyone wanna come?