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National Gallery of Victoria welcomes Her Majesty The Queen for 150th anniversary
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Ian Potter Centre Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. The Royals are on a ten day visit to Australia. EPA/ANJELA WYLIE.

MELBOURNE.- The National Gallery of Victoria welcomed Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The Royal visit in the National Gallery of Victoria’s 150th anniversary year acknowledges the significant role that the Gallery has played in the cultural life of Victoria since 1861.

Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV said: “We are honoured and delighted that Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh chose to visit the NGV during this milestone year.

“The Royal Couple were greeted warmly by NGV staff and expressed how pleased they were to visit the Gallery.

“Her Majesty was particularly interested in the works within our Indigenous Art exhibition Living Water and spoke with several of the Western Desert artists whose work is on display in the Gallery.”

Living Water is an Indigenous art exhibition which consists of 107 contemporary works, collected and commissioned by the NGV curatorial team over several years from artists and artist communities in the Far Western Desert.

These works were gifted to the NGV by the Felton Bequest in celebration of the Gallery’s 150th anniversary. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were introduced to a number of indigenous artists who travelled from Western Australia to discuss their paintings; Mulyatingki Marney, Jakayu Biljabu and Muntararr Rosie Williams who contributed to the impressive work Ngayartu Kujarra and Spinifex artists Anne Hogan and Debbie Hansen who discussed their work Tjintirtjintir (Willy Wagtail).

The timing of this visit is especially poignant as the majority of space at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is currently dedicated to Indigenous art, presenting its earliest origins right through to contemporary practice.

During the visit The Queen also had the opportunity to see the NGV's community education program in action and meet children from Bendigo South East Secondary College contributing to the collaborative sculpture Bunjil’s nest which celebrates Bunjil the Eagle, creator spirit of the Kulin Nation.

After viewing and discussing works of art in the Indigenous galleries students are invited to write a message on a eucalypt stick to contribute to Bunjil’s nest and express something of their hopes, wishes or concerns for the future.

Bendigo South East Secondary College students Eli Ivey and Isabella Somerville presented The Royal Couple with a eucalypt stick before placing it in the sculpture.

The message on the stick reads, “For a future that remembers past cultures and traditions, though always remains intent on its legacy, let us weave our deeds like the twigs in Bunjil’s nest, and create a world where kinship and kindness transcend all boundaries.”

As Australia’s oldest public art gallery (founded in 1861 on 24 May, Queen Victoria’s birthday) the NGV holds many of the key visual icons of the Australian nation, and the building contains the finest collection of Australian art that exists anywhere.

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October 28, 2011

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