Our trip to Tasmania is going to be focused around Hobart, and I must admit I like the idea of exploring quietly rather than madly chasing photo opportunities. The number one place on our list is MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art
Hobart has just been named by Lonely Planet as one of the Top 10 cities in the world to visit – calling it a “funky cultural hub”, in part because of the inspiration of gambling millionaire and visionary David Walsh, who has used his millions to build MONA the spectacular $180 million Museum of Old and New Art.
He is also the force behind summer festival MONA FOMA, a new winter festival Dark MOFO, and intends to build a large hotel near MONA. David Walsh is a character for sure – suggesting in a local paper that once gay marriage is introduced the h0tel might be called HO-MO!
David Walsh seems to have almost single handedly put Hobart on the world map.
Luckily MONA was already on our must see list, with the best part of a day set aside to get there and explore. There are ferries and buses from downtown Hobart, or you can bike (40mins) or drive (10 mins) up the Derwent river. We were short of time, so drove – but bike or Ferry would be the best choice I think.
Theatre of the World
This is the main exhibition and I am entranced at the way new art and media sits alongside ancient art. It is a visceral and sensual experience walking through the exhibition – partly because of the extaordinary building, but also the way the work is curated and placed.
$20 entry gives you an Ipad touch and earphones to dig into information about what you are looking at, but I decide to do without and just feel my way through the exhibition.
It is wonderful and exhausting with high points for me:
- An arresting waterfall of words randomly selected from the newspaper
- The huge room of Pacific barkcloths
- Lying on a beanbag to looking up at amazing and beautiful images of body parts colliding with each other.
- The room of death – not sure if that is the name, but only two people at a time were allowed into this room which displayed on one side an Egyptian mummy and on the other a digitised x ray of cuts through the mummy revealing the bones beneath. To get to it, you had to walk across stepping stones set in water.
- I love that they have multiple forms of transport Ferry – 30 mins Bus – Mona Roma 20 mins Car: 15 mins Bike 40 mins and you can hire them at the Mona ferry terminal
We emerged somewhat dazed and overstimulated from the exhibition, and ate and the MONA café overlooking the water. A suberb ending to the visit – we did not do the whole of MONA, we will have to return – and I suspect that is part of the allure of this place. It is not something you tick off your list and say “Been there, done that”.
It is enticing and entrancing and leaves you wanting more – just not today! We will definately be back.
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