mona, hobart

oh, mona. you are the popular kid at school. the one everyone wants to be best friends with, the one everyone says is the jewel in hobart’s crown. you are the one that everyone says we must see, we just “simply must!” and so we do. because it is one of things that everyone must see once while here, like visiting la louvre in paris, although maybe not on the exact same scale just yet. we’re curious to see if we too will feel the amazement and awe promised by so many others.

so with bellies full and caffeine pulsing through our veins, we feel ready to embark on what could be a long day. we could travel overland to reach the estate, yet the ferry is undoubtedly the most serene mode, providing us with breathtaking views of the harbour. there’s a light drizzle now, the mornings’ showers having relaxed. and the air is crisp and fresh, full of the scent of sea and salt, in the most refreshing way that autumn air can be.

mona rises up before us, backed by lush hills, richly green, and dotted with native trees. the building itself sure is impressive, we note. cut deep into the earth, all rippling sandstone and concrete floors. it is dark and moody and sets the scene for the type of artwork we’ve been promised; dark and mysterious and confronting. because unlike la louvre, there is no famous lady with her knowing smile, nor sculptures of mythical goddesses. but sculptures of a different kind, of lady-parts that cause some to blush and look away.

we feel a little sheepish for not always loving modern art with it’s instillations and obscure meaning. “is it ok to not be in awe?” we asked each other, feeling a little that we probably should. sometimes it’s as though there’s a joke being told and everyone else gets it, except us. we may have missed the punchline, or perhaps it’s meaning is just too clever for us. whatever it is, we feel a little left out but not in that sad way of wishing the popular kid would be our best friend.

we shuffle silently through the rooms, pausing for brief moments at each piece. at this time, the gallery is still fairly quiet, but the waves of other art-seeking tourists are on their way, gently agitating the quiet calm of hobart. it’s easy to see why mona has helped to put tasmania on the ‘map’, as they say. it’s new and fresh and so different to other galleries we usually frequent.

we stroll around the grounds, amongst the vineyards and buildings with their floor-to-ceiling windows, reflecting landscapes and light and images of happy visitors sipping local wine. we hear the ‘cluck-cluck’ of the roosters and chickens who play hide and seek amongst the grapevines, never letting us too close, teasing us with their soft feathers which we want to stroke.

and on our return to the city, cruising along the derwent river, we too acquiesce that yes, everyone must see this place, just once, just for the size and the scope and the space, and the fact that such places do exist amongst the raw beauty of the wild australian landscape in beautiful, sleepy cities such as hobart.

655 main road, berriedale
tasmania, australia


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