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History Of Australian Art And Best Art Places In Sydney

best art places in sydney

Australia’s art history is entirely unique to anywhere else in the world. The country boasts of an indigenous population that has preserved its history in painting for thousands of years. In addition, the colonial past left behind a unique art history. However, Australian contemporary has been thriving in the last few decades.

Aboriginal art is the oldest in Australia. Australian aboriginal people are believed to have been in Australia for more than 60,000 years. Through this period, they were painting caves and rocks in what is popularly referred to as Aboriginal cave painting or aboriginal rock art. Some of the aboriginal art dates back at least 30,000 years ago – that’s how old Australian art can be traced.

The coming of the European and the subsequent colonisation also made a huge contribution to Australian art. The period brought European civilisation and modern art. Most of the art that was done between 1788 to 20th century included distinctive flora and fauna found in Australia. Some of these animals and plants have since go to extinct, hence making the old special to this country.

Contemporary art has been flourishing, with hundreds, if not thousands, of Australians contributing immensely to this growth. Inspired by the surrounding and what is happening around the world, there is plenty of exciting modern art in Australia. Technology has also made making and collection of art pretty easy for galleries and art centres.

Best Art Places In Sydney

The beachside city of Sydney boasts of having one of the most impressive collections of Australian art. There are many galleries from where you can view some of the great contemporary artwork from both local and international talents. If you are planning to experience the best Australian art, here are 7 of the art places in Sydney you can visit:

1. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)

mca sydney

One of the best art venues you need to visit in Sydney is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, popularly known as MCA. As the name suggests, this is a museum that is dedicated to contemporary art. If you want to watch exhibitions from young Australians and international talents, this is one of the best places to visit. You will also be surprised by the incredible contemporary art in this place. MCA is situated in the heart of Sydney Harbour. Entrance is free unless it’s a major exhibition, which is common during in summer.

2. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

It is estimated that more than a million art lovers visit Art Gallery of New South Wales every year. That is an indication that the gallery has a lot to offer when it comes to international and local art. Located within parklands of The Domain, this gallery is one of the art places in Sydney where you can find a vast art collection in its five sprawling floors. The art centre provides some of the best artwork from Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal artists. There is also a permanent collection of paints representing Australian art history in the gallery. So, any time you walk in, there is plenty of artworks for you.

3. Artspace


If you want to view the modern Australian art, then Artspace is one of the top galleries to visit in Sydney. This place has art history that can be traced back in the 1970s and 1980s when it used to be called Gunnery Building. The current modernised warehouse, located in Woolloomooloo, is now one of the leading contemporary art centres in the world. The centre presents several exhibitions of modern art as well as open studio events several times a year. You can check their social media profiles for updates on the upcoming events.

4. White Rabbit Gallery

White Rabbit Gallery

Situated a short distance from Central and Redfern station, White Rabbit Gallery is popularly known for its fascinating collection of Chinese art. In fact, it is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese art. The gallery was opened in 2009, and ten years later, it has become one of the biggest art places in Sydney. With its four floors, White Rabbit Gallery offers the best of the Chinese culture art dating a few centuries old. It’s one of the few places in Sydney where you can get your mind blown away.

5. Firstdraft


Firstdraft is another art gallery in Sydney that you need to visit for artwork experience. Located on 13-17 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo, it is one of Australia’s oldest galleries and home to some of the most exciting Australian artwork. Some of the legendary artists have their work displayed in this gallery. Firstdraft is one of the most active galleries in that they host three to four exhibition per month. However, the most popular event is its annual fundraising auction that happens every August.

6. AIRspace Projects

AIRspace Projects

Located in Marrickville, Airspace Projects is another exciting art gallery in Sydney. Founded in 2014, the gallery has attracted a lot of art enthusiasts due to their monthly exhibitions that showcase new work from both local and international talents. The exhibitions are mostly attended by new talents. So, if you want to spot an upcoming talent, this would be the perfect place to visit. Whether you are looking for the new Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal talent, Airspace Projects would be a perfect venue to be.

7. Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Founded in 1982, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is best known for its huge collection of contemporary art. It is one of the few galleries that have a long history of promoting contemporary art, and more so, new talents. They host exciting new art events every three weeks to promote new talents. We recommend that you visit during exhibitions to experience new arts from new talents not only from Australia but across the world. Admission is free. The gallery is located along 8 Soudan Lane, Paddington.

If you are an art enthusiast and looking for the best art places in Australia, these are some of the venues and galleries you should have on your list. These places showcase not only Australian art but also some of the captivating artworks by international talents. We highly recommend that you visit during exhibitions as you might come across your favourite artist.

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