Earlier this year I went up to Brisbane for a few days. Before this trip, I’d only been to Brisbane once before on a family holiday during the mid-90s. I was a teenager on that first visit – a very different person – so it’s hard to compare experiences. The five of us stayed in a suburban motel and ate at a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner every night. I still remember the delicious canh chua we ate with steamed rice. Not quite home cooking, but it was pretty good.
This visit I had a really nice time catching up with my friend Catherine, and I also got the chance to see other friends I’ve made over the past year. Delicious lunch at a new tapas bar called Olé; cold drinks on a hot day at Three Monkeys in the West End; cocktails at the Lychee Room; dinner at an Indonesia restaurant on Hardgrave Road; a stand up show at the Brisbane Comedy Festival; the beautiful farmers’ market at New Farm Park. Looking back on all the things I did, it’s little wonder I had such a great time.
One of the trip highlights was the last thing we did before I had to fly out – a trip to GOMA, Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art. It featured an impressive collection of contemporary art and a strong focus on artists from the Asia-Pacific.
Ok, I know I just talked about art in my last post (The art of travel), and it’s a bit boring for me to talk about it again so soon, but the Yayoi Kusama exhibition was truly something else. I’m a bit of a fan of hers and first saw an exhibition of her work at the MCA in 2009. I loved that exhibition so much that I actually went back a few times.
The Kusama exhibition at GOMA included The Obliteration Room which started out as a white room with white objects. Upon entry each person got a sheet of colourful round stickers to stick where they liked. By the end of the exhibition there is hardly any white space left – the room is ‘obliterated’. Both children and adults alike were mad for it…and that’s why I found it to be an ingenious idea. And fun!
At its best, art is a mirror to society and a lens through which to view the world. It entertains, surprises and moves…and sometimes it includes you as well.