Last night was the inaugural Museum Night in the Mother City, hosted by First Thursdays and Iziko Museums. My lovely friend Lorzi and I wandered down to Company Gardens expecting a crowd, but nothing like the long queue that snaked around the garden, compiled of eager faces anxious to get a glimpse of Kentridge and Siopis’s latest offerings at the National Gallery. We decided to bypass the queue and headed for the South African Museum instead – I’ll be back at the gallery in my own time.
It’s always fun going back to the museum – it’s reminiscent of my childhood: ogling at stuffed creatures and listening to whales singing in the little yellow booth. Lorz and I popped into the Planetarium to look at the stars and then we admired temporarily headless whales suspended from the ceiling. Did you know the Blue Whale’s heart is the size of a Mini?
Following whaling around, we went to look at the shark display and I got eaten by a Great White. It was very dramatic.
My favourite exhibition, and the reason I really wanted to go to Museum Night, was the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Gallery. I knew the images were going to be good. I didn’t realise they could be that good. I’ve never seen photography like that. Every image was a poem in itself, and some of the photographs took over a year for the photographers to capture. I can’t imagine being that dedicated to capturing one thing for such a long period of time. I really loved the macro photography and the magical otherworldly images – you just weren’t quite sure what you were looking at. I didn’t take any photos of the images, but have a look at the gallery here, and if you possibly can, make the effort to see the images first-hand. Look out for Alexander Badyaev’s Mouse, Moon and Mosquito; Bence Mate’s Herons in Time and Space; and Bernardo Cesare’s Kaleidoscope – these were the ones that really resonated with me.
It was really lovely and encouraging to see so many people embracing their inner culture-loving nerdiness and appreciating our fantastic museums. These stately archives deserve our love and respect, and I hope that the event has fueled a desire in people to visit them more frequently.