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Benalla Art Gallery

We leave Melbourne with Georgina, Melissa's mother, heading up North-East to meet Melissa's brother Tim and family. He owns a farm near Holbrook, "the submarine town". First stop is Benalla, a small town 200km from Melbourne.

Flowing through the town is the Broken River, which forms the artificial lake Benalla in the middle of town. Within the splendid botanical gardens, sitting on the banks of the small lake is the Benalla Art Gallery, established in 1968. In the early 1970s, the vision and donations of the Ledger family shaped its future, and in 1975, the current modernist building was finished by architects Munro and Sargeant, The cafe named after the architects was a great spot for our lunch,

We spent a bit of time visiting the gallery, which is part of a vibrant arts scene in the region. In the first exhibition room, the kids enjoyed the artwork by Pauline Fraser (IG @paulinefraserfineart), especially the "Contemplating nature" ceramic sculptures inspired by the close observation of nature, plants, animals and insects.

In the next room, we visit the exhibition by Nick Selenitsch (Melbourne): Form & The Universe of Colour. A large wall is dedicated to interactive art, where the visitors are invited to contribute by adding their crayon inspirations to the designated colour areas.

"Colour is a place where our brain and the Universe meets". It is only through the most simple and direct sensory experiences that we can connect with the stuff-of-matter around us. By experiencing colour- or at times, simple forms - we merge with our environment in a direct bodily way, a process that is outside of any means of expression. Paul Cézanne.

We all enjoy the immersion into the coloured walls, and play with artwork.

Nick Selenitsch: Drawing wall, a colouring-in project. Somewhere in the middle, our family's contribution.

In the last room, various landscape and "nature morte" from Australian (Victorian) artists entertain us. In the middle of the room sits an inviting full concert piano, which Stanley would have loved to play. Do not touch, of course.

Thank you Benalla, great discovery, and a short stop we highly recommend, if you're exploring the rural area of Victoria.

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