A wet, humid day and nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon so up we went to Bundoora Homestead to see their current exhibition ‘The River’. I’ve written about Bundoora Homestead previously. It’s a beautiful Federation-era house, well worth seeing in its own right.
Another homestead that was once a gallery, Banyule Homestead, is very much in my thoughts at the moment. More than ever I realize that if you value a gallery or a library or a museum, then you need to visit it- you need to walk right through that door and go in. In the case of Bundoora Homestead, it’s free and it literally costs you nothing: the gain is all yours.
The current exhibition is called ‘The River’ and it centres on Melbourne rivers (well, creeks) the Merri and the Darebin Creeks. In recent years of drought these creeks have dwindled to small puddles connected by a fitful ribbon of water. One of the joys of the recent rains this year has been to look down from a train into the city, as you cross over the creek, and to see the water gushing and tumbling along waterways that had seemed so dismal just a few years ago.
The exhibition contains well-known works, most particularly Burtt’s depiction of the purported signing of the Batman treaty and several Heidelberg school paintings of river scenes around Melbourne, as well as 19th century photographs and engravings. These are juxtaposed against more recent works on the Merri and Darebin Creeks, including reflections on the ‘treaty’ painting and more surreal and threatening depictions of these urban places. There will be a lecture panel this coming Thursday 24th November at 2.00 discussing Burtt’s painting.
This is a terrific exhibition. I’ve seen reproductions of the Batman painting before, but not the original, and I was delighted to see Sarah Susannah Bunbury’s painting of her house on the Darebin Creek in 1841. I liked the sense of fun in many of the modern depictions, and it was lovely to see it in a beautiful suburban gallery, close by to the two rivers featured in the exhibition itself.