IT was a bittersweet moment at Newcastle Region Art Gallery on Saturday. Arguably one of the most important cultural institutions in Australia was packed as the Brett Whiteley exhibition was opened.
Hundreds of patrons turned out to see the great artist’s work, and to admire the wonderful sculpture Black Totem II, which has been gifted to our gallery by the late artist’s widow, Wendy.
A great opening to a great exhibition – but in the truly embarrassing context of Newcastle City Council’s shortsighted and grossly misguided decision to abolish the position of gallery director.
The crowd at the gallery were there not only to appreciate the art of one of Australia’s greatest artists but to show overwhelming support for the gallery’s director, Ron Ramsey.
The community’s outrage over this matter is growing rather than dissipating.