We asked Jacqui Hemsley, the director of Albury’s new MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury), for ten reasons why the new $10.5 million art gallery opening on October 2 is the best thing to happen to Albury since the ATO came to the NSW border town.
1.MAMA is a new multi-million dollar art museum which will become a major cultural tourism drawcard for the Murray region, bringing an exciting new energy and artistic focus to central Albury. MAMA faces directly on to the main street on one side and QE 11 Square on the other so it’s a natural focal point for the city.
2.MAMA has blended the two historic buildings which formerly housed the (very modest) Albury Art Gallery with a beautiful modern, sophisticated and very green building that now offers 10 gallery spaces. For the first time, we are able to show the best of Albury City’s excellent permanent collection in an appropriate, tailored exhibition space.
3. Albury now has state of the art, flexible exhibition spaces which for the first time can attract and accommodate significant national and international art exhibitions. To mark the official opening, three contemporary Australian exhibitions are being presented. They are:
4. Wiradjuri Ngurambanggu (On Wiradjuri Country) featuring work by leading contemporary indigenous artists, Jonathan Jones, Brook Andrew, Karla Dickens, Lorraine Connelly-Northey and Nicole Foreshew.
5. Deborah Kelly’s No Human Being is Illegal (in all our glory) + Venus Variations. Deborah has been in Albury for a series of residencies with local artists working on the ‘barnacling’ of her life-sized nude photographs. These will be shown alongside new work commissioned by MAMA — the Venus Variations, created as part of Deborah’s win in the 2014 Albury Art Prize. Picture below from her No Human Being is Illegal series.
6. Sonic Splendour — MAMA is very much about nurturing and supporting emerging local talent and this exhibition is giving young artists from the Albury region a professional platform they would not otherwise have had.
Sonic Splendour will showcase the amazing work of the locally based, internationally recognised music video producer, Andrew Pearce. For MAMA, Andrew has in turn worked with three young local musicians to create industry standard music videos for each. They have also had the chance to produce professional recordings of their original songs, which they will play at MAMA’s opening night party and be shown at MAMA as part of Sonic Splendour.
7. MAMA is also throwing a fantastic free party for Albury to mark its official opening on October 2. There will be live performances including Strange Fruit (below) and Snuff Puppets, large scale projects and lighting installations, live music, food trucks, circus and roving entertainers.
8. MAMA is home to a number of newly commissioned artworks including a beautiful steel sculpture wrapping the outside walls of the building created by Matthew Harding, the winner of the 2014 McClelland Sculpture Prize.
9.The building of MAMA has uncovered all kinds of treasure from the past including children’s toys, buttons, bones, bottles and ceramics. These archaeological relics will be on permanent display in the new gallery spaces and a specially designed glass viewing plinth over an excavated well in QE II square.
10. MAMA is bringing great food as well as great art to Albury. Melbourne restaurateur, Tim Tehan, best known for his funky Fitzroy cafes Backstreet Eating and Birdman Eating, will open the new café/restaurant, Canvas, seven days a week for breakfast, coffee, lunch and dinner.