Friendship Fire Starter- Common Interest- Modern Art

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

The re-opening of Sydney’s Museum of Contempory Art ( MCA) Gallery at Circular Quay has reignited my interest in all things modern and art.

It has also forced me to examine the person I am, the person I was and the person I want to be.

Some might ask, how can the re-opening of a Modern Art space force a person to evaluate the nature of self?

To better understand the MCA’s hold over me I must return to 1996, when I was a  17 year old High School Art student in Wollongong.

High School…I cringe as I recall the person I was, quiet, closed off, lacking in confidence…qualities that impacted all attempts at artistic expression…My artwork was restrained, I never really found my own way to express myself, choosing to  imitate others.

Mid way through this year, when our regular Art teacher took annual leave, our class was graced with a relief Art teacher…from Sydney.

The name of this teacher escapes me…but such details are not important…what was important that this women took a look around our class, and the art work we were producing and was not afraid to tell us that it was all ‘ rubbish’….it was ‘ too safe’ it was not ‘ challenging’ or ‘reflective’ of the individual.

Our class has never been subjected to criticism…It was if everything we had ever produced was ‘ wonderful’…Yet this outside from ‘ Sydney’ begged to differ….’ What you all need is a good shake up’ I recall her saying one day….

And shake things up she did…She sent me from the class room one day, to head down to the beach, to captures the true essence of the landscape, the formation of waves, to inspire freedom in my brush strokes and drawing…’ You can’t continue to draw pictures of the sea within classroom walls!!’

To me it felt I was being expelled…I was humiliated….but looking back on the experience I believe this teacher was right….Our class did need a big shake up, we needed to be a bit freer, creative in our expression….but in all honestly, creative freedom for me did not come till much much later….But I look back on this 1996 life lesson with fondness…It was just the beginning for me!!

And then this teacher dared to take us on an excursion to an Art Gallery, in Sydney, on a Saturday!!

‘ You all need to be exposed to what is currently being produced in the art world…and we will do it on a Saturday’

Outrageous, unheard of….Amazing

The Museum of Contempory Art, Sydney….a group of motley 17 and 18 year olds from Wollongong ascend on the gallery, welcomed at the entrance by a 15 metre tall puppy sculpture, covered in live flowers by Jeff Koons…

Koons Puppy outside the MCA 1996

Koons Puppy outside the MCA 1996

Fast forward to 2012, and the MCA has undergone a transformation, it is now bigger, bolder and more beautiful than ever, a world class creative space to house an eclectic mix of modern art from around the globe.

I too have undergone a transformation, one cannot help but do that with the passing of time.

That wonderful teacher who’s name escapes me might have even played a tiny part!! Yes, I still went on to submit art work in my final year of high school that was both cautious and safe, and academically I was penalised for it!!

But the passing of time has lead to the emergence of a person no so constrained and constricted, more at ease and freer…both in herself and her creative expression.

Sometimes I wish that I had been capable of throwing caution to the wind back in 1996, when this Art teacher tried to show me another way of being, in one aspect of my person , but I was not bold enough, confident enough to what back then, seemed like a monumental step.

But in the here and now, 2012…I am ready…and so I encourage you to take yourself, a group of friends, that special someone in your life to the MCA…Just as it does for me, may the gallery and its content challenge you to be your authentic self.

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