2 July 2011
Sydney has always been a part of my life, from when I was a little girl from the UK visiting my grandmother, right up till now where it plays the background to my life as an adult. I visited the city hundreds of times while I was growing up. Now working and living here, I’m finally getting the chance to explore the nooks and crannies that make the city so special. The stunning harbour, the barista in the little café around the corner from my house (who makes what I swear is the best coffee in Sydney), a lazy weekend afternoon on the Glebe Foreshore Walk – and the art.
Sydney has an astonishing amount of galleries, exhibitions, artists and international art festivals. The city utilises the incredible natural background that we are so lucky to have, inspiring international and local artists to create works that can be thought provoking, inspiring, scary, beautiful, life changing… the list just doesn’t end. These fantastic events give the city just that little bit extra. Personally, art takes me out of this world and then brings me firmly back again – it is a learning experience.
This year it is the 17th Biennale Festival of Sydney – the fourth oldest Biennale in the world it showcases work from some of the world’s most innovative contemporary artists. While there are Biennale locations scattered around the city, my favourite is Cockatoo Island. I caught the free ferry out to the island and spent a sunny winter day wandering around absorbing the combination of brilliant minds at work and the historic natural setting.
Tired after relentless art viewing and photography, I rested on the top deck of the ferry taking us back to Circular Quay. A smile was brought to my face watching the enthusiastic young boys with their father lean out over the waves at the bow of the boat – another generation who will grow up to remember and continue to enjoy the legacy of art the city is giving us.
The Sydney Biennale is on every two years – I encourage everyone to catch at least a bit of this one before it ends on the 1st of August. There are also other, more permanent locations where it is possible to get your refreshing dose of art on a regular basis. I remember visiting the NSW Art Gallery with my Grandmother when I was only about 7 years old and being awed by the high ceilings and beautiful paintings. Since then, I’ve been back countless times. I lived in the Southern Highlands (1 hour from Sydney) from the age of 9 and every trip to the big city was accompanied by a visit to the Art Gallery. I still love heading over there just to visit my favourite works and breathe in the calming atmosphere – after a frenetic week, it can be the perfect antidote.
I also still catch up with my grandmother there. Things haven’t changed that much.
Written and Photographed by: Natasha Hanckel-Spice