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13 May 2020
By DYLAN DE JONG
A Wimmera art gallery has found technology to be a vital resource through the COVID-19 pandemic after moving its art displays online.
Inspiration from other Victorian art galleries prompted Horsham Regional Art Gallery director Brenda Wellman to display the gallery’s latest art exhibition through an online interactive virtual display.
The gallery prepared Malaysian-born photographer Minstrel Kuik’s exhibition, ‘She who has no self’, in February, but due to government restrictions the gallery was forced to close its doors.
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Kuik planned to visit the gallery in April, however, continued restrictions prevented her from entering Australia and visiting Horsham to view her exhibition.
Thankfully, with a bit of ingenuity, the gallery found a way to display her photography in a ‘virtual art tour’.
Keen art-lovers can now access her exhibition through the art gallery’s website, cycling through three different virtual rooms inside the gallery, as though they were actually there.
Mrs Wellman said although virtual art was no substitute for the ‘real thing’, it served as a useful tool to engage art enthusiasts across the Wimmera.
She said she hoped the online experience would encourage more people to attend the gallery when it could reopen.
“The virtual experience never replaces the actual experience of seeing art up-close – but for us, it’s a great tool to enable people to see the art,” she said.
“Getting more art online has always been something we’ve been working on, it’s just becoming more important as we’re closed down.”
Mrs Wellman said moving works online also created a permanent record of the exhibition for the artist and served as a valuable piece of history for the gallery.
“Usually art tours are only up for a short time. If you don’t document them there’s not really much record of it,” she said.
“It adds to our information about the artists, so in 10 or 20 years’ time people can use that as a resource for researching that artist.
“That’s how we learn things – keeping that reference.
“For Minstrel, she was supposed to visit Horsham – now the virtual tour is really the only thing she’s seen. It’s a record she’ll have of the exhibition, apart from the catalogue – that aspect is pretty important for artists.”
Following Kuik’s works, the gallery plans to continue providing virtual art tours in 2020.
Minstrel Kuik: She who has no self, was curated by Alison Eggleton and developed for PHOTO 2020 International Festival of Photography.
The festival, featuring the works of Australian and international photographers in Melbourne and regional Victoria, has been postponed until February 2021.
The entire May 13, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!