Day 1,802 of Traveling the World | Sydney, Australia | January 12, 2023

Sydney at night! Amadeus at the Opera House! Art in Sydney! (What’s that? Oh no, no, we don’t get excited about many things!) But, sadly, this is the last of our Sydney posts for a while, as we head off to Canberra, Melbourne, and New Zealand’s North Island for six weeks before returning.

What an enjoyable city Sydney is!! There is so much to see and do, and the people are very friendly. Amadeus was stupendous, and starred the versatile British actor, Michael Sheen, as Salieri. We have seen him in many movies, but it seemed as though he fit into the role of Salieri very easily. As you will see, the stage setting was minimal, but that lent itself to the characters being all the more important.

Our day in the Art Gallery of New South Wales was so enjoyable! We had never visited, and the original building alone held many new treats for our eyes. What we found most interesting was that new and old, paintings and photographs and sculptures – were all placed adjacent to one another. It was nice to see the variety, which most museums do not undertake. Then, we walked over to the new wing, and our pleasure tripled. As you will see in the photos, the Welcome Plaza has giants to do its welcoming. When you enter the building, it is all glass and brightness and just a huge spaciousness. Glorious! The wing contains a lot of aboriginal art and very interesting pieces. It was built over a WWII underground oil bunker, now called The Tank, whose first subterranean installation is called The End of Imagination, by Adrian Villar Rojas and involved stumbling around in near- and total darkness. We can’t wait to see what the next iteration of artwork in The Tank will be. That will be on the next trip to Australia.

Gorgeous building lights reflected in Circular Quay.
Circular Quay after a glorious performance of “Amadeus” – the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge framing the Ferris wheel of Luna Park, and people drinking and eating, talking and laughing, into the night.
The stage of the Opera House, ready for Amadeus. We were amazed at how interesting the ceiling looked when we looked at photos the next day.
Curtain call! Michael Sheen is in the center, just below the woman in the pink gown. He was quite masterful playing the role of Salieri.
A pretty sidewalk view as we walked to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The foyer of the original Art Gallery building, with its interesting flower display, looking like it fell apart (but it didn’t).
Titled “Multi-armed Bi-head,” this 2020 bronze sculpture is by Sri Lankan artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.
This is British navigator Captain James Cook. The 2015 piece is titled The English Channel by New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai. We liked the glossy surface, Cook’s dangling feet, and his coat falling off the back of his seat – making for a more casual depiction of the great man.
This piece was alone on a wall, facing us as we came down a corridor. It looked so lovely and gentle, with lots of pinks and blues, glitter, and rhinestones. When we got closer and studied it we saw blood here and there, predators, dead things, and violence. Only then did we understand the reference to the influence of our favorite painter, Hieronymus Bosch. The info card is in the next photo.
The painting was not all that it seemed from afar!
Colonnes Pascale, 2012, by Cameroon artist Pascale Marthine Tayou. These towers are so playful! They are made of vessels that the artist bought in Marrakech.
Forty pictures in one…under glass – “The Legend of the Queen of the South,” by Belachew Yimer (1941), about the Queen of Sheba. Her son, Menelik I, was the founding king of the Ethiopian Dynasty.
In the Welcome Plaza of the new wing of the Art Gallery stand three rather lovable giants, created in 2022 by Francis Upritchard. It was a surprise to stumble upon them! The name of the installation is “Here Comes Everybody.”
This is the second we found.
We absolutely loved Number Three, wrapping its hand around one of the pillars and towering so high over the seated woman.
The accompanying text to this painting says: “A face emerges from the delicate, schematic lines drawn by Vernon Ah Kee in ‘Unwritten #9’ (2008). Ghostly and haunting, the eyes are black voids and the mouth is a gathering of darkness.”
It looks childlike, but the artist (HJ Wedge) of this piece, “Stop and Think,” (1993) painted it when he was 37 years old! A bit like Little Red Riding Hood, the piece considers who can be trusted and who can provide protection.
Grace Lillian Lee created this collection called “Belonging” in 2021-22. It is about how we all are interconnected. She states that she is the red figure in the center. Our question: Don’t we ALL want to be the red figure in the center???
Japan Supernatural: Vertiginous After Staring at the Empty World Too Intensely, I Found Myself Trapped in the Realm of Lurking Ghosts and Monsters.” Takashi Murakami (2019). Best title ever!! Uh…and the crazy-eyed cats, swords, evil men, and wild colors aren’t bad either!
This outdoor sculpture was making everyone smile, as the polka-dotted flowers almost look like they are running. Yayoi Kusama, “Flowers that Bloom in the Cosmos,” 2022.
In a 1942 wartime oil bunker now called The Tank (in the Art Gallery’s new wing) is this mostly- in-the-dark installation called “The End of Imagination,” with what are called “conflicted objects.”
Since it is dark, and the subterranean space has columns as well as other people, the instruction is to stand still when all of the scattered lights go out completely. Before we entered, everyone was also given the instruction to keep their cell phones and cameras in their pockets. Nobody did. Everyone was taking pictures.
Another conflicted object!
We spied this cactus garden atop a pub on one of our walks.
Yirranma Place Gates, by Badger Bates. The gates tell the story of the Seven Sisters and the Rainbow Serpent.
The gates frame a foyer with tables for working or snacking. The building is a former Church of Christ, Scientist. The ceiling is covered with an Indigenous constellation, the Emu.
Also found on a walk, this Great White beauty lurks outside the Australian Museum.

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