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A Car Maker’s Icon

Adelaide is a small city where history and culture collide at every corner.  Nestled amongst the fine imposing nineteenth century architecture of Adelaide’s leafy North Terrace is The Gallery of South Australia, the jewel in the crown of the state’s cultural capital.

A short walk from here on King William Street is the site of the factory where a young Edward Holden reshaped his grandfather’s saddlery business into Holden Motor Body Builders LTD. Contracting for companies such as Ford by the mid 1920’s they were still merely producing bodies for imported chassis. However Holden had plans to take his family business to the next level and they would by the early 1930’s become a subsidiary of motoring giant General Motors, eventually producing the first car made entirely in Australia. Part of Holden’s strategy was the production of an iconic logo to brand his cars and identify his company. In the late 1920’s he commissioned renowned Sydney based artist, teacher and architect George Rayner Hoff to produce a sculpture for this purpose.

In 1928 Hoff designed the now famous ‘Lion & Stone’ symbol that is still seen on the front of every Holden produced today. The piece represents the legend of man’s invention of the wheel. Hoff produced two bronze sculptures depicting this both of which are now proudly on show in The Gallery of South Australia.

Sitting amongst a plethora of work by international and local artists these two bronze sculptures embody the diversity that makes this gallery a must see for anyone visiting or residing in this great state. Whether you’re new to galleries or a seasoned fan of fine art the GSA is a great experience. From huge sculptures to breath-taking landscapes, antique poker tables to modern art, from scenes of Hahndorf by Doritt Black to abstract interpretations by Picasso. There really is something to interest everyone.

The GSA currently generates three times as much income for the state of South Australia as it receives in funding, so when you consider that admission is free you have to be impressed with what has been achieved within this impressive building.

On top of its vast array of permanent pieces the gallery is well known for hosting temporary exhibits showcasing some of the world’s most prestigious artists. Having recently extended the opening hours for its Turner exhibition art fans are being given extra opportunity to come along and see pieces normally only on show in London’s Tate. The exhibit is running until the 19th of May with adult tickets as little as $25 dollars and concessions available, I would highly recommend a visit.

The gallery is open every day from 10am -5pm. For more information please visit http://www.artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home .

BY SIMON RUPPERT

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