Arts West exterior

Arts West façade video

Officially opened by the VC Professor Glyn Davis in the presence of Chancellor Elizabeth Alexander on 25 August 2016, the stunning building provides the University's Arts Precinct with 24 high-quality, dedicated teaching and learning spaces, a digital studio and a façade that displays images from the University's cultural collections.

About the façade images

In the metal fins on the Arts West facade you will find the impressions of five selected artworks and artefacts fundamental to knowledge. These images represent an array of cultures, eras and viewpoints, and illustrate the relationship between the Faculty of Arts and the intellectual, cultural and historical traditions that underpin our research and teaching.

Each artwork and artefact has been selected for its significance to the history of the Faculty, for its disciplinary breadth and for its ability to aesthetically adapt to the architectural concept.

The final design is a balance of images and ambiguous shapes. By spacing the images out across the façade, the distinction between figure and abstraction, between object image and background is blurred.

The final images are abstract, encouraging exploration and interpretation - like the process of enquiry and revelation which underpins learning and discovery.

Visit the Teaching with Unique Collections website

Artworks and artefacts

Unknown maker (India) 'Untitled (scenes from the Bhagavad Gita and the life of Krishna)' (c. late 20th century)

Unknown maker (India)
Untitled (scenes from the Bhagavad Gita and the life of Krishna)
c. late 20th century
Ink and natural dyes on cotton
Faculty of Arts, the University of Melbourne

This textile is from Andra Pradesh and is painted in the Kalamkari style. The central panel shows a moment in a dialogue between Prince Arjuna and the god Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita. This exchange contains advice about how to lead a good life and summarises a number of the important philosophical principles which underpin Hinduism.

Tommy McRae (Australian c1830s-1901) 'Ceremony with Buckley and sailing-ship' c.1880s

Tommy McRae (Australian c. 1830s-1901)
Ceremony with Buckley and sailing-ship
Pen and ink on paper
Foord Family Collection
The University of Melbourne Archives

Tommy McRae was an artist of the Kwat Kwat people. He lived and worked along the Murray River and in northern Victoria between Yackandandah and Wahgunyah. Many of his pen and ink drawings date from the period in the 1880 and 90s when he was living at Lake Moodemere. McRae sold his drawings on commission usually in the form of sketchbooks. His dramatic images often include telling observations about the relationships between indigenous people and European settlers.

The Amykos painter. 'Lucanian red-figure krater' s. 420 BCE

The Amykos painter
Lucanian red-figure krater
c. 420 BCE
The University of Melbourne Art Collection
Gift of David and Marion Adams
2009 2009.0236

The Amykos painter is the name given to an important artist based in the region of Lucania in Southern Italy. By the fourth century BCE Greek colonies and trading ports were located throughout the Mediterranean generating a rich cross-fertilization of ideas and objects across cultures.

Unknown maker (Iran) 'Finials' c.850-650BCE

Unknown maker (Iran)
c. 850-650 BCE
The University of Melbourne Art Collection
Gift of Peter Joseph, Marilyn Sharpe and Susan Rubenstein in honour of their parents Keith and Zara Joseph
2009 2009.0322

These finials are typical of the bronze work found in the mountainous Luristan region from 900 to 700 BCE. This was a period when a tradition of innovative bronze casting flourished in the area.

Bertram MacKennal (Australian 1863-1931) 'Salome' c.1895-1900

Bertram MacKennal (Australian 1863-1931)
The University of Melbourne Art Collection
Gift of Dr Joseph Brown 1980

Bertram MacKennal's bronze statuette was one of many artworks from the last decade of the 19th century which dealt with the subject of the biblical dancer Salome. From Oscar Wilde's play of 1893 to Mallarmé's Herodiade (1898) and the dance performances of Loie Fuller and Maud Allan; the legend of Salome was an enduring theme in fin de siècle Europe and Edwardian London.

Image gallery