White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney has been on my list for ages. An inner-city art gallery focussing on Asian art with the added bonus of a dumpling house. What’s not to like!
Turns out, not much. White Rabbit Gallery is quite simply, wonderful. It’s located in Chippendale, a central ‘burb which is now not even pretending any more to be working class. It exudes hipster street cred with a whiff of gentrification. The gallery is in a fairly utilitarian blonde brick building, which apparently used to be a Rolls Royce service centre, surrounded by tree-dappled streets, bespoke eateries and other galleries and it is opposite Central Park, which provides Ultimo with some much-needed lungs.
I started, as usual, with food and ordered twelve tiny chicken and chive hand-made dumplings, which were saved from blandness with a chilli sauce and some excellent iced lychee tea. The gallery’s many young enthusiastic assistants (presumably art students) are all decked out in an apron with a design from one of the current exhibitors. There are twice daily tours of the gallery, but if you miss it, the staff are always on hand to answer questions.
The gallery is owned by a South African businesswoman, who was enamored with China on a visit there and has decided to invest in Chinese art. In case you were wondering (as I was) why this stylish three-floor gallery is free, it’s because it’s run as a charitable trust. Although all the artists are Chinese, the art doesn’t look like Chinese art, as you know it. Case in point – the tray of penis’s – take a look: