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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 08 December 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 DECEMBER 2018 17 EXHIBITION In the Mirror - Self Portrait with Joy Hester, Albert Tucker, 1939. Cuc and Minh Lam’s purse, an original exhibition object from 1978. PHOTO: MUSEUMS VICTORIA Melbourne’s storytelling duo The Huxleys also feature in the exhibition. PHOTO: MUSEUMS VICTORIA. story is that of a genuine partnership between two creative people as a husband and wife at the time. "On the other extreme we have some very simple baby blankets that were collected by the musuem a few years ago and relate to the story of a Southern Sudanese family of refugees, who crossed three countries in Africa to seek asylum in Melbourne. “The blanket, held by the mother is a perfect example of how a simple object can represent a very powerful migration story," Ms McFadzean says. "It's about devotion and sacrifice and endurance." Endurance was what made Lili and Letho Sigalas' story special. "It's a really lovely story that starts with this cream velvet dress that we have in our collection from the Sigalas family," she says, explaining how the couple's story might challenge one's idea of love and the presumptions about arranged marriages. "It might have been an arranged marriage, but it was actually a relationship of great love and warmth and respect - they really deeply loved each other." "There is a lovely story of a successful marriage, based on devotion and the idea that love is something that you work at and work for and it can be something enduring and lasting." The exhibition also focuses Lili Sigalas’ cream wedding dress, donated by her family to the Immigration Museum. PHOTO: MUSEUMS VICTORIA on the way Melbourne's creative communities challenged the traditional ideas of love, through the stories of the artists included in the Heide museum collection. Sitting at a property established by John and Sunday Reed in the 1930s, Heide Museum carries a legacy of one of Melbourne's leading communities of artists and creative people who were drawn there, lived there and created "some amazing art", as Ms McFadzean puts it. Artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Mirka Mora, were not only some of the biggest names of the Modernist movement that shook the Australian art establishment in the 1930s-50s, but also people who adopted alternative lifestyles, which makes their stories (and that of the complex relationships that evolved among them) relevant to the Love exhibition. "John and Sunday Reed were the central patrons and they had a very soulmatelike relationship, they were a perfect fit, but Sunday also had a long and passionate affair with Sydney Nolan," says the Curator, explaining how Love puts Heide as a starting point to all those complex love stories that were in line with the modern ideas of relationship. Bringing all these stories together, and having objects given a new life has been one Young Love, a sculpture by Leoplodine Mimovich. of the most fascinating parts of the exhibition. "It's at the heart of what we do as curators all the time," Ms McFadzean says, explaining how emotional this experience has been for everyone involved. "The important thing was to let these people tell their stories themselves, the curators taking a back seat. "We wanted visitors to have these real voices in their ears as they are looking at these objects and worked with people who were really generous with their stories and let us record them. It is an incredible privilege. "Some of these were happy stories, others were heartbreaking, there was a range of experiences and I can recall quite a few tears in the room from all of us. "It is quite an emotional rollercoaster to be embedded in people's lives like this." The visitors are encouraged to have their own stories embedded as well. "You have the opportunity to leave your own love story behind," the curator says, impressed that the wall where people put up their stories got to fill up, during the exhibition's opening weekend. "It's been really wonderful seeing visitors engaging and being moved like that." 'Love' is presented at the Immigration Museum (400 Flinders Street, Melbourne) until 28 April. The exhibition is included to the admition ticket.
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