What Is the National Gallery of Australia?

Patti Kate

The National Gallery of Australia is a large museum which is open to the public and located in Canberra, Australia. When vacationing in Australia, many tourists find the National Gallery of Australia to be a main focal point of their visit. At the museum, many varieties of Australian art and sculptures are on display. Primarily built as an art museum, the National Gallery of Australia was constructed in the late 1960s.

When vacationing in Australia, many tourists find the National Gallery of Australia to be a main focal point of their visit.
When vacationing in Australia, many tourists find the National Gallery of Australia to be a main focal point of their visit.

The grounds surrounding the gallery contain native Australian shrubs and trees, such as eucalyptus and gum trees. Many sculptures decorate the grounds of the Canberra museum. The National Gallery of Australia has three levels, each dedicated to specific displays. On the first level there are galleries that display entire collections of Australian and International art. Other levels display sculptures from Australian, American, and Asian collections.

Some of the most notable collections on display at the National Gallery of Australia are Aboriginal designs. The Aborigines are native to islands of Australia, such as Torres Strait island. These people are believed to have inhabited parts of Australia for more than 50,000 years. The cultural traditions of the Aborigines include crafting fine sculptures and paintings, many of which are displayed inside the National Gallery of Australia's Aboriginal section.

Guided tours of the National Gallery of Australia are offered to the public year round. In addition to art collections on display, there is a members lounge and a cafe for dining. An extensive gift shop, aptly named the National Gallery Shop, is another attraction that draws visitors to the National Gallery of Australia. Some of the souvenirs and gifts available for purchase are books, calendars, and diaries. Posters and jewelry are also available for purchase.

Curators also created a sculpture garden as part of Australia's National Gallery. The architecture is designed with ceramic rooms that house a total of 26 sculptures. The majority of sculptures are designed by Australian artists, although some are by international artists as well.

Various special exhibits are offered throughout the year, including the Good, Strong, Powerful Exhibition. This is a showcase for the talents of modern Aboriginal artists from three districts. The work comes directly from art centers in various areas.

The gallery also has a research library available for reference. In the archives are manuscripts that document the original Australian art and sculptures on display at the museum. Also available are audio and video recordings, many of which include exclusive interviews with the artists whose work is displayed in the gallery.

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Discussion Comments


@stl156 - To be totally honest, people do seem to be attracted to Asian styles of art even though they are not western world art. However, this does not attribute to why people do not seem to have a major demand for Aboriginal art. I feel like it could be that this type of art is more simplistic and seen as not being, well as civilized of art as people would like.

Despite this, aboriginal art is a major part of the heritage of the nation of Australia and people need to take notice of it by visiting this art gallery. The place is the best art center in the great country of Australia and it is almost like going to visit France and not stopping to see the Louvre.

If you really want to embrace the history of Australia, especially through its art you need to visit this museum and make sure that you look at the displays and paintings they have.


@matthewc23 - You may be on to something there. I have to say that there are not many people that come to mind when I think of Australian artists.

I could very well be that the art world is very Western world oriented and that Australia is kind of left out to dry and their art is not readily recognized.

I would have to say though there is a significant amount of Asian art out there that seems to garner a large amount of interest and this is certainly not Western style art.

It could be a matter of demand and people not being as interested in Aboriginal art as they are Asian art, but I do not know. It seems kind of odd that the National Gallery Of Australia would not attract more people simply because it is the main art building in Australia and the country seems to attract a lot of interests from tourists and outsiders, due to its exotic land and sense of mystery.


@cardsfan27 - To be totally honest I feel like it may have something to do with people's depiction of the nation of Australia and how it is seen as an exotic and mysterious land.

Although seen as a western society, I have never thought of the Aboriginies as being a western culture and because their history is not as well known as other non-western societies, they probably do not attract the interest and attention that they deserve outside of the nation of Australia.

Another reason may be that there are not a very large amount of significant artistic works from Australia or well known artists that are recognized worldwide. If anyone can name some that are easily recognized it would be news to me and this could be why this gallery is not as recognized as say the Louvre or the Art museum in New York.


I have heard of the National Gallery of Australia and I have to say that I feel like that it is not advertised enough in the area or in the world for that matter.

A lot of history is shown through the art of a country and whenever someone looks at a painting they are looking at society and the world itself as they look at the painting.

When one goes to the National Gallery of Australia they are looking at sculptures that represent and depict Australian culture and the richness of Aboriginal society.

Considering that the Aboriginies are such an integral part of Australian history and heritage I have to wonder why this national gallery, which I assume is government run and funded, doe snot attract more attention as well as visitors and recognition across the globe.

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