Canberra's heritage-listed Drill Hall Gallery unveiled its recent AU$2 million face lift last night. The military training hall turned slick art gallery installed a climate control system, state-of-the-art lighting tracks and a purpose-built exhibit dedicated to the hero of the ANU Art Collection, Sidney Nolan's Riverbend.
The renovation has truly transformed the building and maximises the Gallery's new potential as an acclaimed contemporary art space. Freshly polished dark wooden floorboards reflect the crisp white partitions that stretch to the ceiling high above. The space is elegantly broken up by the exposed brick of the building, a reminder of its entrenched history.
The gallery launched with travelling exhibition 'Streets of Papunya', and artists Linda Tjunkaya Syddick Napaltjarri and her sister Martha McDonald Napaltjarri were at hand to see it open. Curated by esteemed Papunya scholar Vivien Johnson, the show seeks to frame contemporary work against the historical establishment of Papunya as an epicentre for Aboriginal art. Women artists feature more conspicuously across the current generation. The show presents a number of visually stunning painted works as well as video, sculpture and collage.
The gallery has extended its hours and will now be open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday.