The NBA Gallery: Inside Sydney’s latest immersive pop-up exhibition
The NBA has long been a driving force of pop culture as a whole, particularly in Australia in recent years.
Be it through music, fashion, sport, or art, there is no denying that the American league has become a huge part of Australian pop culture, which is what Sydney’s newest pop-up exhibition the NBA Gallery is looking to celebrate.
The NBA Gallery is an immersive experience, a celebration of Australia’s impact on the NBA, and the NBA’s impact on Australia.
Sitting witness to an NBA game can command a mind-boggling array of feelings. It is to observe a magic act, a dance, a game of chess, and the fastest decisions known to man.
In the seventy-five years of the National Basketball Association, the North American professional basketball league has grown larger than purely the game itself; it’s a culture, phenomenon, and for some, a way of life.
The NBA’s presence is global, and so is the make-up of its players.
Australia is among the highest represented countries, with more than 30 Australian players in the league’s history.
Australia’s past and current NBA players were referenced collectively or individually in artworks by Sonny Day, Noah Johnson, Kris Andrew Small, and Scott Marsh.
Other artists fielded more abstract or materially literal dialogues with the NBA; as seen in works by Serwah Attafuah, Roman Jody, Nike Savvas, Alexandra Hackett (A.k.a Miniswoosh), and Dennis Golding.
Allow these nine artworks by nine Australian artists from multiple generations and backgrounds, to expand your perspective on the game and ruminate on the vast impact that Australia has had on the league’s legacy.
Held in Sydney, NSW, the NBA Gallery is located at the iconic Central Station, inside the entertainment complex dubbed EDDY:
CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
SHOPS 4-7, 1 EDDY AVENUE
HAYMARKET NSW 2000
Open every day from Friday 19th August 2022 – Wednesday 31st August 2022, from 11am – 7pm.
Nike Savvas is an Australian Artist based between Sydney and London. Trained as a painter, she works across scale and materials completing numerous large-scale installations for the Toi Art Te Papa Wellington NZ, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Auckland Art Gallery NZ, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Camden Arts Centre, London; Artspace Sydney, IMA Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Leeds Art Gallery, UK, and the Southbank Centre in London.
Drawing her inspiration from a variety of sources, from Op Art through to kitsch, her work often conflates painstakingly crafted detail and complex mathematical algorithms – drawing attention to both the tangible and the abstract at once. Her objects and installations often invite the viewer to partake in the active experience of her work, by physically shifting, repositioning and refocusing their gaze, in order to unveil ever-changing facets to the works. Her art is never quite ‘stable’, rather Savvas creates tantalising, fluctuating objects that captivate and mesmerise the eye and the mind.
Scott Marsh is one of Australia’s most iconic and infamous street artists. With a deep history in graffiti culture, he’s recognised internationally for his signature, politically inspired and newsworthy mural pieces.
From tagging Sydney trains at 12 to becoming a finalist in both the Moran Portrait Prize and Archibald Prize, Scott confronts the common perceptions around street art and graffiti, using traditional art techniques to prove that fine art can exist and succeed beyond oil and canvas.
While some of his interpretations may be contentious, the overwhelming majority of Australians admire and encourage his work, with each piece attracting droves of spectators and transforming mundane buildings into shrines of hope, resilience and social change.
Scott’s work has made news headlines globally with his iconic pieces including Kanye Loves Kanye, Saint George, Trump Obese Turtle, Merry Crisis and A Symbol of Pain and Frustration.
Dennis Golding is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist, curator and collaborator based in Sydney. His practice reclaims Aboriginal history and identity through sharing his personal experiences and childhood memories from growing up within Sydney’s Redfern.
Golding critiques the processes of colonialism in Australia using a range of mediums to encourage new conversations around historical, social, political, and cultural narratives.
Kris Andrew Small
Based in Sydney, Kris Andrew Small’s work is a joyful explosion of colour, typography, pattern, and collage. He often takes societal issues and channels them through loud and abstract visuals. That’s not to say his work is heavy, though, in fact, his portfolio is one of utter exuberance.
This idiosyncratic merging of techniques and themes features on any number of mediums, from posters to campaigns, packaging, zines and everything in between, and has seen Kris collaborate with clients including Nike, Apple, Dazed, Die Zeit, Adidas Originals, It’s Nice That, Channel 4, WeTransfer, Reebok and more. He’s also exhibited internationally at institutions like the V&A in Dundee and MAD in The Lourve, Paris.
At the heart of his energetic and dynamic work is a message of empowerment and support for the LGBTQIA+ community, and resistance to the hyper-masculine society he experienced growing up.
He finds comfort in all the facets of his identity and reality through creating and emboldens others to do the same. Inspired by the likes of Keith Haring and Jean-Paul Goude, artists who have shaped his perception as a creative, he uses his practice to uplift and educate, and provides a voice for those unable to use theirs.
In his often abstract patterns and illustrations are hidden messages of acceptance and self-love, of being true to yourself and allowing that to guide your artistic vision.
For his fashion label ONEOFONE ARCHIVE, Noah uses second hand clothing, fabrics and left over materials to create new, timeless garments.
Someone’s trash to someone else’s treasure is virtually what you could say and Noah hopes to keep supplying people with ‘slow fashion’ in response to fast fashion and the overproduction/consumption of big corporations.
And that’s why everything Noah makes is one of one.
Alexandra Hackett is a multi-disciplinary designer in the streetwear and sportswear industries, specialising in fully reconstructed and upcycled product design.
Her practice revolves around the process of deconstruction, exploring non-traditional fabrications and functionality.
Serwah Attafuah is a multidisciplinary artist and musician based on Dharug land/West Sydney, Australia. She creates surreal cyber dreamscapes and heavenly wastelands, populated by afro-futuristic abstractions of self with strong ancestral and contemporary themes.
Serwah has collaborated and been commissioned by clients including Mercedes Benz, Nike, GQ, Adobe, Paris Hilton and Charli XCX. Recent notable achievements include her participation in Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’: A Curated NFT auction and ‘Apotheosis’: a live motion capture experience with Soft Centre at The Sydney Opera House.
Throughout his diverse practice – which encompasses creative direction, fashion design (founder of Jody Just, co-founder Umi Nori), marketing consulting as well as object-based work – Roman Jody attributes his signature sharp aesthetic to his existence within and the adoration of sub-cultural movements as a teenager where he grew up in Sydney.
Jody’s work is grounded in design thinking, an approach that he developed through an academic and professional journey in New York, graduating with a BBA in Strategic Design & Management from Parsons School of Design as the class of Spring 2018 Valedictorian.
Sonny Day is an Australian artist living in Orange in central western NSW.
He has been a practicing artist for 25 years as well as being half of WBYK, a design and illustration studio with his wife Biddy.
His work focuses on the classics, Sex, Death, and current affairs. He has a deep love of music and sport, both of which find their way into his work.
Sonny is represented in Australia by China Heights
As well as the artworks, the NBA Gallery will also have a featured content room, which will be screening the NBA’s latest web series – ‘Ingrained’, created by Matthew Adekponya.