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Attraction,Arts/Culture ian 4/24/2014

On paper, the official Day One Canberra Royal Tour looked a tad boring. Off to the National Arboretum to plant an oak tree… up to Parliament House to rub shoulders with the pollies and, in the afternoon, a visit to the National Portrait Gallery to see a bunch of supposedly famous Aussies in frames hanging about.

If the Duke and Duchess were anything like me and my good wife they would have wished they had more time at the National Portrait Gallery. They had an hour – we had an afternoon, and it still wasn’t long enough. It really is a sensational gallery and on its own worth a visit to our national capital.

There are famous and infamous subjects - sports stars, pioneers, politicians and pop stars.  A tip – skim around the gallery to get your bearings and then go back to focus in detail one the ones you really liked to appreciate the artist and the subject. My personal favourites on that visit were steely, aloof and inquisitive Don Bradman by Bill Leak, sexy Lola Montez, imposing Henry Parkes by Tom Roberts, a wise, pensive, sensitive Donald Horne, a slightly fragile Don Dunstan, a confident, even brash Charlie Teo and a damaged but defiant art critic Robert Hughes (also by Bill Leak).  The portraits of David Gulpilil and Albert Namatjira made me sad... the one of Bill and Dallas Hayden getting ready for dinner amused me greatly.

Rydges Capital Hill is handy to the Portrait Gallery which is just across from the National Gallery of Australia if you want to check out both in a day. If you do, I highly recommend the lamb pie with crusty pastry for lunch at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Attraction,Arts/Culture ian 7/19/2013

On a recent visit to Canberra spent a delightful afternoon in the National Portrait Gallery (after a delicious lamb pie with crusty pastry in the gallery restaurant).  I was somehow expecting it to be a tad staid and boring.  Not a bit.  The hours slipped away and I was left wanting more time.

There are famous and infamous, sports stars, pioneers, politicians and pop stars.  Until September 8, one of the featured pop stars is Paul Kelly.  Apart from various Kelly portraits hung in entrance, as opposed to his namesake, Ned, who has hanged, not hung.

Throughout the exhibition there are lovely little Paul Kelly videos.  For example, next to the Bill Leak portrait of Don Bradman you can don the headsets and watch Kelly sing his song about the great batsman who, incidentally, was a friend of Paul Kelly's father.

My favourites, along with Bradman, were sexy Lola Montez, imposing Henry Parkes by Tom Roberts, a wise, pensive, sensitive Donald Horne, a slightly fragile Don Dunstan, a confident, even brash Charlie Teo and a damaged but defient Robert Hughes (also Bill Leak).  The portraits of David Gulpilil and Albert Namatjira made me sad... the one of Bill and Dallas Hayden getting ready for dinner amused me greatly. Highly recommended.

Both Rydges Capital Hill and Rydges Lakeside are handy to the Portrait Gallery which is just across from the National Gallery of Australia if you want to also check out the Turner from the Tate exhibition.

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