MQB at Night

Word on the street, where the Australian Commission (as the work of the 8 artists built into the architecture of the MQB’s administrative building is known) is visible, is that the most spectacular views of the Aboriginal designs are to be had at night, when the building is illuminated from within. So last night around midnight, we were there to see the spectacle. And spectacle it was, despite the fact that someone had forgotten to turn on the lights on the top floor, so that the Tommy Watson was in darkness. Likewise, half of the floor that is painted with Gulumbu’s garak design was in darkness. Nonetheless, the views were wonderful, as I hope you can tell from the pictures below.IF

This is the standard publicity photo shot, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. You can see that the bookstore, with Mawurndjul’s painting is still open for business during these preview days. The Ningura ceiling above was quite lovely and bright, and Had the lights been on, Gulumbu and Tommy Watson’s designs should have been visible as well. John’s pole is dimly visible at the front left hand corner of the bookstore.


Along the front of the building runs a hallway decorated on the first and second floors with Ningura and Gulumbu’s works. The designs are painted on the ceiling and on the back of the faced wall, and are then reflected by mirrors aound the windows’ edges, and on the back wall of the hallway.


A broader-angled shot of the first two floors, along with the stuccoed representation of Lena Nyadbi’s cicatrices on the building’s facade. IT’s a little easier to sort out the positions of the mirrors on the back wall of the hallway in this shot (especially in the three windows on the right of the lower floor).


This shot adds a little more of the facade, include part of the row of seven photographs by Michael Riley that line the ramp leading up to the bookstore. The very shiny ceiling below the two flags is where the design based on Judy Watson’s Two Halves with Bailer Shell is reproduced. Because the work is done in polished metal and glass, it’s almost impossible to see unless you are standing directly underneath it. Paddy Bedford’s work was originally meant to be placed immediately to the left of the doorway below the flags, but for some reason was moved into a passage between the Museum building and another building to its left. Of all the reproductions, this is the only unmitigated disaster–it’s very hard to photograph, so I don’t have a good shot of it yet,but it looks terrible and does a real injustice to the work. Part of the design is pierced by a balcony overlooking the passageway from the first floor, and when we first arrived there were crates and construction debris piled against it. (The Museum is still very much under construction in many of its parts and workmen are everywhere.)

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