The next best thing to being at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) in the city, is to visit it online for now. Staying linked to the community, the NGV is right there with you in isolation with offerings of interactive activities online for adults and children.
Until we run our fingers through the falling water wall, and stand under the amazing stained glass ceiling, or have a bite to eat at the cafe, it must be appreciated that we can still have art and beauty in our lives to soothe us, challenge us and teach us. Aside from the website, be sure to follow their Facebook page and especially Instagram where updates on new events and news are instantaneous and constant, with fun ways to interact with the NGV via hashtags and @tags to get their attention.
The Virtual Tours currently on offer is like being on Google Maps. A lot of thought has gone into it and it's brilliantly amazing that you can walk around the whole gallery and take a look at everything as if you were there, but without jostling crowds or waiting your turn to walk up to an exhibit piece. Have a walk through the Japanese Modernism Exhibition, Kaws, Collecting Comme and more, and quench your thirst for art. There are of course lots of interesting and informative material to read on the website as well.
NGV Kids at Home will give the kids new ways to be creative at home with their online resources. Art has been known to be a great tool to help not only adults, but kids to relax and reduce feelings of anxiety. Have the kids choose from activity sheets and e-books for free things to do at home. Print or take inspiration with paper and pencils in hand and transform the kitchen table into a table-top studio; turning potential boredom into productivity. Don't forget to share all your creations by using hashtag #NGVEveryDay and tag @ngvmelbourne to be featured.
Stay in touch with free virtual excursions hosted by an NGV educator, via video conference. Introduce students to NGV Collection works and exhibitions from your own classroom. It's all live and interactive and adapted to suit the level of the student. You need to fill in a booking enquiry form. Once your booking is confirmed, you'll be sent a link to an online meeting. Teachers may send this link to individual students working from different locations.
To WATCH, there's lots on the website to engage with. Get into Indigenous Art and be introduced to the history of Indigenous Art Practice and the expansion of materials from rock faces and human bodies to bark and canvas. Explore KAWS with NGV Senior Curator Dr Simon Maidment and discover the early years, the first part of a four part series that walks through the exhibition in full. Hear from art students themselves and be inspired as they talk about their work, ideas and inspiration. This is but a small sample of what's online, so go out (while in) and discover more for yourselves.
Get playful and drag that inner child out. #BetweenArtAndQuarantine; #NGVEveryDay; #ABCMelbMasterpiece are the tags you'll use on their Instagram to be featured. Get resourceful and creative and take pics of you imitating art. There are plenty of examples on the website and Instagram for ideas. Head to NGV Collection which contains approximately 75,000 works of art and approximately 90% of its records available for viewing. More than 30,000 images of works in the Public Domain can be downloaded at high resolution for free for publications and non-commercial use by clicking on the download icon to get your inspirations for imitation. NGV's Instagram also has some featured clever, funny and creative inspirations to check out to see what you're up against. On that note, see @tussenkunstenquarantaine for ideas and to share your work on their Insta, as their page is given kudos for ideas by the NGV
If you've ever wanted to attend a drawing class with the professionals but never got around to it, head for the Drop-By Drawing event and have fun with artists Lily Mae Martin, Minna Gilligan, and Kenny Pittock, with more to follow no doubt. The how-to series on sketching will give you some fun finger and shoulder exercises and drawing techniques with Kenny, left handed, right handed and with your eyes closed. Intrigued? Minna will take you through a less traditional approach to drawing that focuses on colour and fun, while Lily encourages focusing on simple drawing exercises such as observational drawing and mark making, demonstrating how working on a drawing in stages builds consistency in your work.
Have fun while the NGV is temporarily closed, but continue to share the art, design and stories that we all love. Keep following them for daily content and inspiration. Be sure to watch, tour, learn, read, listen and discover with them. Enjoy a video by sound artist Philip Samartzis and hear what the Antarctica sounds like. In fact, why not LISTEN to all 8 clips of the sounds of ice shelves, glaciers, icebergs and sea ice and obliterate misconceptions about the continent. There's a lot of content to keep you going, so get going!
Meanwhile, keep dreaming and hoping and immerse yourself in the beauty of the stained glass ceiling below, and remember, engagement with community is always better than isolation, especially self-isolation on social media. If anything, this pandemic is a great reminder that reality is far better for our mental health and wellbeing than to be trapped in a virtual world forever. Food for thought. Be safe!