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‘Brave New World: Australia 1930s’ at NGV International, Melbourne

A new exhibition in Melbourne showcases the transformative and turbulent times of 1930s Australia. The exhibition, which consists of art in various forms as well as other artefacts, tells a tale about one specific place in history. Titled ‘Brave New World: Australia 1930s’ the group exhibition is hosted at NGV International.

The 1930s was a turbulent time in Australia’s history. During this decade, major world events, including the Depression and the rise of totalitarian regimes in Europe, shaped Australia’s ever-evolving sense of identity. In the arts, progressive ideas jostled with reactionary positions, and artists brought substantial creative efforts to bear in articulating the pressing concerns of the decade.

‘Brave New World: Australia 1930s’ encompasses the multitude of artistic styles, both advanced and conservative, which were practiced during the 1930s. The exhibition features facets of commercial art, architecture, fashion, industrial design, film, and dance to present a complete picture of the period, charting out themes of celebrating technological progress and its antithesis in pastoralism. These include the emergence of the idea of the New Woman and consumerism, nationalism and the body culture movement, the increasing interest in indigenous art against the backdrop of mounting calls for indigenous rights, and the arrival of European refugees, coupled with the increasing anxiety at the impending threat of World War II.

The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public art museums with one of the world’s finest art collections. The collection encompasses treasures from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the pre-Columbian period, in addition to an Oceanic gallery dedicated to the indigenous cultures of the Pacific area. Also on display are nearly 16,000 international prints and drawings, an array of European and Asian decorative arts, and a gallery space dedicated to 4000 works representing the art of Asia.

The exhibition is on view through October 15, 2017, at at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006, Australia.

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Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition. Najia Mehadji

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