HOT: Open House: Tromarama for Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

tromarama

Open House: Tromarama for Kids is NGV International’s newest children’s gallery exhibition which isn’t just child’s play. Indonesian contemporary art collective Tromarama (Febie Babyrose, Herbert Hans and Ruddy Hatumena), have truly built a house of fun for young and old alike!

Open House: Tromarama for Kids

tromarama

The fantastical space features five fully furnished rooms – a kitchen, dining room, courtyard, bedroom and bathroom. The whole house comes to life and there are lots of unexpected surprises to explore.

tromarama

tromarama

Start off in the bathroom and very comfy pillow-lined bedroom, where you can learn to make simple stop motion animation movies.

tromarama

Just take some toys from the bathtub, find a backdrop you like, use the touch screens to take photos  and off you go!

tromarama

Move into the lush garden with the flower wall which reminded me of the Raf Simons’ extravagant first collection for Christian Dior. Pity the flowers aren’t real!

tromarama

In the garden you’ll find that pink flamingos talk and cheeky garden gnomes chat back with your voice!

tromarama

The kitchen is the most restful space, with stacks of ceramic crockery (thankfully stuck together and to the benches) and it shows a delightful animation of dancing plates and cups.

tromarama

The highlight of the interactive experiences has got to be the disco dance floor. Look up and you’ll see a complete dining room setting, which means you’re dancing on the ceiling!

tromarama

Like Darren Sylvester’s dance floor for the Melbourne Now exhibition this room will definitely be a drawcard.

tromarama

Open House: Tromarama for Kids is a must-see on your next to visit the gallery and it will be sure to delight and surprise kids and adults alike. Come out and play!

Open House: Tromarama for Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Saturday 23 May – Sunday 18 Oct

Open 10am–5pm

Closed Tuesday

Free entry

FREE Food Tours of Melbourne’s West – with me!

Maribyrnong City Council regularly run ‘Westside Discovery Tours’, a series of FREE tours for locals and visitors to introduce them to the secrets of Melbourne’s west side. (Read about some of their previous tours here and here).

New tours are available for booking from today.

Westside Discovery Tours May 2015 (1)

I will be leading a cycling tour with The Squeaky Wheel to discover some of the Westside’s best pastries, cakes, desserts and sweets. Free tastings too!

The Sweet Cycle

When: Sat 9 May, 1.30 -3pm

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 10 places

Doughnuts

If you have kids I will also be leading a Culture Mamas tour of family-friendly Footscray. It’ll be a 1.5 hour walk covering some of my favourite places to take kids to eat, shop and play in my neighbourhood, with tastings en route.

Family Friendly Tour of Footscray

When: Mon 4 May, 10 – 11.30am

Where: Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 8 places

To book email susie.wickes@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au with your full name, street address, contact number and selected tour. Only one tour per person and not available for group bookings of 4+ people. For more information click here.

The HOT List: Where to celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 in Melbourne

chinese new year

This year the Lunar New Year is Thursday 19 February 2015 and it will be celebrating the Year of the Goat (or Sheep).

Even if you’re not of Asian descent it’s a great time in Melbourne for festivities and yummy food!

Here’s a list of free Chinese New Year events in Melbourne in date order:

  • Victoria Street Lunar Festival Richmond – Sun 1 Feb, 11am-10pm. While technically the Vietnamese celebrate Tet there’s a large enough Chinese-Vietnamese population for Victoria Street Richmond to hold a CNY celebration. It’s very popular and gets a bit crowded but the street is closed off for food stalls and performances.
  • East Meets West Lunar Festival Footscray – Sun 8 Feb, 10am-10pm Hopkins St Footscray. This is the celebration we’ll be attending as it’s in our neighbourhood! Food stalls, games and rides will fill the street.
  • Crown’s Riverwalk Hawker’s Bazaar – Fri 13 Feb – Sun 22 Feb 11am-11pm Outside Crown Complex, Southbank. Chinese street food and entertainment by the Yarra. Some Crown restaurants will also have special CNY menus.
  • Box Hill Street Festival – Sat 14 Feb, 1pm-1am Market St & Main St, Box Hill. Box Hill is another Asian enclave in Melbourne and they’ll be celebrating CNY with cultural performances, game,  amusement rides and food.
  • Springvale Lunar New Year Festival – Sun 15 Feb, 9am-9pm Buckingham Ave, Springvale. Springvale has a large Vietnamese/Chinese population and this CNY festival coincides with Australia Day, so two holidays in one! See martial arts displays, lion dances, folk dancing and of course lots of Asian food stalls.
  • FCA Melbourne Chinatown Chinese New Year Festival – Mon 16 Feb – Sun 1 Mar. The big celebration in Melbourne, with the opening ceremony on Sun 22 Feb followed by the Dragon awakening ceremony and parade.
  • Prahran Market – Sat 21 Feb 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra. The Market is offering a range of free cultural activities including children’s cooking activity, lion dance, Chinese music.
  • Chinese New Year at Noble Park Racecourse (Sat 21 Feb – Sun 22 Feb) – Chinese Lion Dance, Firecrackers, Traditional Folk Music, Dancers, Martial Artists and much more.
  • Chinese New Year at Federation Square (Thu 26 Feb – Sun 1 Mar) –  interactive performances, make your own dragon and free Tai Chi and Health Qigong demonstrations, mahjong lessons and a full stage program on 1 March with live music, dancing and a colourful performance.
  • Glen Waverley Chinese Lantern Festival – Sun 1 Mar, 10am-9pm. Kingsway, Glen Waverley. International food stalls, cultural performances and activities.

Also try these Chinese restaurants for a special CNY meal:

David’s 4 Cecil Street Prahran

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn

Golden Dragon Palace 363 Manningham Rd Lower Templestowe

Shark Fin House 131 Little Bourke St Melbourne

How will you be celebrating The Year of the Goat in 2015?

HOT: The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto, 3rd floor, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

ernesto neto ngv

One of National Gallery of Victoria’s newest international contemporary acquisitions is Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s “The Island Bird”. It’s an interactive, immersive installation which will delight young and old.

ernesto neto ngv

“The Island Bird,” enables visitors to enter within the exhibit by climbing into a 10m wide roof-mounted, hanging network of rope tunnels.

The ropes are hand-knotted together using a traditional craft technique to create a suspended nest. It’s quite incredible that these thin threads are able to hold the weight of thousands of rubber balls and several humans (only five people are allowed inside at once).

ernesto neto ngv

It’s an unusual vantage point to be able to look out from an artwork into the gallery space, breaking down the traditional divide between art and the viewer. The mesh of tropical colours gives a different vista at every turn.

At the back of the tunnel is a resting area with knotted cushions and informal seating where you can relax and rest. In fact, the gentle swinging of the work as people move in and around The Island Bird is quite soothing.

ernesto neto ngv

The Island Bird is a fun way to get really involved in art. It’s also a beautiful structure for calmer, more meditative moments as you hover in the air, gently swaying.

The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto, 3rd floor, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Open every day (except Tuesdays) 10am-5pm

Exhibition open until Sun 19 April 2015

Free entry

HOT: Emily Floyd: The Dawn, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square

emily floyd ngv

Emily Floyd: The Dawn is an exhibition of the work of Melbourne artist Emily Floyd and it’s the newest children’s installation in NGV Australia at Federation Square.

emily floyd ngv

The enormous circular sculpture bookcases of ‘The Dawn’ and the colourful stylised blocks comprising ‘Workshop’ sit on the ground floor entrance of the gallery and they are a striking introduction to Emily Floyd’s colourful and playful work.

emily floyd ngv

The main display is on the third floor and features Floyd’s installations, sculpture, print and video work dating from 2001 to 2014. As you walk in Floyd’s flock of parrots in ‘An open space’ and the exaggerated size of the classic stacking toy ‘Steiner Rainbow’ will bring a smile to your face.

emily floyd ngv

My favourite works were ‘It’s because I talk too much that I do nothing’ with text from Crime and Punishment circulating around the ‘Emerald City’ as Lady AB called it – actually a representation of the onion domes of St Petersburg. Similarly, ‘The Outsider’ was a glistening material interpretation of Albert Camus’ novel.

emily floyd ngv

emily floyd ngv

emily floyd ngv

The exhibition also includes a specially commissioned kid’s project called Emily Floyd: The Dawn for Kids with two interactive spaces that encourage creativity using letters and words and inspired by Feminist activism from the 1970s and 80s.

emily floyd ngv

In one room is a floor full of acrylic letters. Younger children will enjoy the tactile experience of walking along, holding, throwing and probably chewing the letters while older children will delight in finding the right letters to spell their names or creating sculptures using the letter blocks.

emily floyd ngv

Around the perimeter of ‘Word Farm’ is some colourful bench seating by  designer and educator Mary Featherstone which incidentally also makes for great climbing fun and running fun for toddlers. I saw a poor museum attendant trying to rub off marks on the benches and I suspect that will be a lost cause…

emily floyd ngv

The second room of was ‘Small Press’, a location for children to write their own manifesto while learning about design and typography. Lots of fun to be had tapping on typewriters and playing with stamps!

Emily Floyd: The Dawn is a fun, engaging and educational art experience for babies to adults. Best of all, it’s free!

Emily Floyd: The Dawn, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square

Fri 21 Nov – Sun 1 Mar 2015

Free entry

10am-5pm closed Mondays

 

HOT: Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

romance was born ngv

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids is the newest Children’s Gallery commission at the National Gallery of Victoria – but it’s not just for kids. There is plenty of exhibition within the space to entertain and interest adults too and it makes the perfect stopover after the fashion extravaganza of the NGV’s Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition.

Fashion designers Romance Was Born have turned the gallery space into a crazy kaleidoscope of colour which typifies the work of fashion mavericks Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett.

An array of colourful sequins frames the entrance before you enter into a several rooms. Each room contains a jaw-dropping fantastical environment that will stimulate, engage and provide lots of opportunity for creative play.

romance was born

romance was born

The first room is the ‘Rainbow Room’, an immersive space which encourages children to engage with rainbow-coloured objects in glass cases and then design their own rainbow using the touchscreens.

romance was born ngv

The end of the Rainbow Room takes you to my favourite room, the ‘Bush Magic’ room. The walls are decorated in a fantastical imagining of a bush setting while digital rock pools allow you to ‘swim’ with colourful fish and mysterious sea creatures.

romance was born

Then you move into the ‘Make and Do’ room where you can decorate and make a beard or a necklace by attaching sequins, pom poms and googly eyes onto various colourful templates. I spotted several adults sporting these decorative pieces around the gallery during my visit!

romance was born

Throughout the space some of the design duo’s richly imaginative work is on display, from gowns to shoes to accessories, as well as photographs and video.

romance was born

romance was born ngv

romance was born

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids is bold, eccentric and really, really fun. Kids will love all the opportunities to play and create while adults will appreciate the way art and fashion come together in the various installations.

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born For Kids, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Friday 17 October 2014 to Sunday 22 March 2015.

Open 10am-5pm, closed Tuesdays.

Free entry



HOT: Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

carousel ngv

One of the free, experiential and sculptural works being presented at Melbourne Festival 2014 is the Golden Mirror Carousel by Belgian artist Carsten Höller.

golden mirror carousel

A shiny gilt old-fashioned swing carousel has taken up residence in Federation Court of NGV International. It’s a beautiful object and a stunning sight to behold when you first enter the gallery.

carousel ngv

Twelve people at a time are allowed to take a seat on the carousel, which transforms the traditional fairground ride into something unexpected. For instance, it turns very slowly around and takes approximately four minutes to complete a rotation. Instead of being thrilling and noisy like you’d expect, this carousel is gentle, relaxed and silent.

carousel ngv

Sit back, enjoy the glittering, multi-mirrored views or simply take some time to slow down your busy life. Someone mentioned that it was so relaxing he almost fell asleep and I found the experience rather dream-like. I felt like I was turning inside a gilded music box and enjoyed looking into the mirrors to catch of glimpse of objects and spaces around the gallery.

carousel ngv

Everyone will have a different physical and emotional reaction to the work. My favourite moment was watching an elderly woman who had problems walking make the slowest, utmost effort to take a seat in what was a potentially childish ride. I can only imagine the kind of memories her go at the carousel might have brought back for her.

We were surprised to find almost no queues during our visit on a weekend around lunchtime. The staff are quite good at herding people on and off the carousel so you shouldn’t have to wait too long at any time.

Note that tomorrow Sunday 12 October you have the opportunity to hear from Carsten Höller directly in a free talk from 5:30-6:30pm in the Great Hall of NGV International. Bookings are essential and you can register by email with GOLDEN in the subject line to programs@ngv.vic.gov.au.

Golden Mirror Carousel by Carsten Höller, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne     

Friday 10 October 2014 to Sunday 1 March 2015

Every day 10am – 5pm

Closed Tue 14 Oct

HOT: Westside Discovery Tours

Tours_cover_  red green & yellow_green back

A few times a year Maribyrnong City Council run ‘Westside Discovery Tours’, a series of free tours for locals and visitors to introduce them to the secrets of Melbourne’s west side. (Read about some of their previous tours here and here).

New tours and now available for booking now and covers topics as diverse as art, history and food.

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I will be leading a tour which combines my passion for food and cycling! With my friends at The Squeaky Wheel I will be taking a small group on an 1.5 hour eating and cycling tour of Footscray, my home and one of the most diverse and delicious suburbs in Melbourne.

PEDALLING FOOTSCRAY’S FOOD ICONS is a fun way to explore Footscray’s food culture – from doughnuts to goi cuon to cannoli. Bring your appetite and your bike and get ready to eat, shop and ride!

Sat 25 Oct, 12.30pm – 2pm

Meet in front of Olympic Hot Doughnuts, Footscray Railway Station, Irving Street, Footscray

FREE Bookings required, limited to 10 places

To book your place on a tour email susie.wickes@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

For more information about the tours visit www.festivalcity.com.au, www.cyclestyle.com.au and www.thesqueakywheel.com.au

Tours_Oct2014_inside

HOT: ‘Bring Your Bub’ Photography Tour of Footscray, Westside Discovery Tour

westside discovery tour culture mamas

Every 3 months Maribyrnong City Council hold free ‘Westside Discovery Tours’ where locals and visitors can discover the hidden secrets of Melbourne’s inner west. One of the sold out tours that I attended was the ‘Bring Your Bub’ Photography Tour of Footscray which was held in conjunction with Culture Mamas.

westside discovery tour culture mamas

Photographer Terry Murphy led 8 mums and bubs on a relaxed 1.5 hour baby and pram-friendly walk around Footscray CBD. I discovered unexpected pockets of the area and most importantly some basic techniques to get the best out of my camera.

westside discovery tour culture mamas

The tour started with a windswept 360 degree panorama of Footscray and its surrounds from the rooftop carpark of Footscray Market. Here we learnt about the aspects to consider when taking a picture – composition, lighting and colour.

As most of us were guilty of shooting in auto all the time Terry took us through how to use the aperture function instead. We learnt about using different aperture settings, how to apply the correct white balance setting depending on the light conditions (shady, sunny, cloudy etc), how do adjust our ISO and making sure that images were processed in large fine jpg.

With those basics in mind we practised shooting a panorama image and some portraits of mums and bubs with Footscray in the background.

westside discovery tour culture mamas

Next up was a stop in a graffitied laneway in Footscray CBD with a massive paste-up by local street artist Baby Guerilla and other vibrant artworks which made a colourful backdrop for more portraits.

westside discovery tour culture mamas

After a brief stroll through Little Saigon and Hopkins Street, the main street in Footscray CBD, we stopped to discuss the best tips for shooting portraits. Turns out you will get better proportions and less distortion if you step back and use a long zoom rather than getting in close and using a short zoom. And always shoot from above or eye level.

westside discovery tour culture mamas

It was a shame that we’d run out of time to visit Footscray Park to learn more about shooting scenery and landscapes but it’s likely that there will be more photography tours with Culture Mamas in future. To stay in the loop check out their website.

Other free Westside Discovery Tours are running this week, from an arts crawl, historical walks and food tours (sold out but get on the waiting list). Check out the Maribyrnong City Council website for more info and mark your diaries to book a spot on the September tours.

Read my review of a previous Westside Discovery Tour ‘Vietnam on a Plate’.

‘Bring Your Bub’ Photography Tour of Footscray, Westside Discovery Tours with Culture Mamas

HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

top arts 2014

Top Arts is arguably Victoria’s premier art accolade for young artists completing their VCE in Art or Studio Arts studies. For the last two decades years, a handful of entrants have been selected from across the state to exhibit their work in Victoria’s biggest and most prestigious gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

This year, in line with the 20th anniversary of Top Arts, the free exhibition has had a slight makeover and been renamed StArt Up: Top Arts 2014. Because not only is the exhibition about the top art you’ll find in high schools in Victoria, it’s about supporting young talent and giving them a start to pursue a career in the arts. Inside you’ll find photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video works selected from over 3000 submissions.

I visited the exhibition on its opening night and was really awed by some of the young talent on show. Here are some of my favourite works:

top arts 2014

The intricate detail of the felt-tip pen drawings of Beyond the memories (Fushigina taken, futatsu no sekai) by Darcy Whitworth, a reflection of her time in Japan.

top arts 2014

 

Hundreds of carved bamboo insects in Swarms by Madeleine McDonough.

top arts 2014

Look closely and these blooms are actually made up of body parts of the female figure. Botanical anatomy 1 by Adelle Elksnis.

top arts 2014

The beautiful clouds of folded paper in The subjectivity of interpretation by Adrian Del-Re.

top arts 2014

The incredible detail in the tiny specks of sugar covering the girl’s face. Sugar by Stephanie Pidcock.

A range of talks and learning programs accompany StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 and you can view workbooks, folios and preparatory material to get an insight into the creative process

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 is an interesting collection of diverse works and it’s inspiring to see what the next generation of artists are working on now. Who knows, this year’s crop could become the Next Big Thing in the art world soon.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Friday 11 Apr – Sunday 20 July