Earlier in July, and to my utter excitement, I got tickets to the Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). But not just any ticket…it was a Friday night ticket!

For those who don’t know, NGV hosts these super trendy Friday night events that combine arts, music and dining. Ticket holders are delighted with an open space with high ceilings, dark lighting, standing tables, a bar (coz that’s always important), and a performance by an Australian musical guest – supporting local artists.

Upon arrival, I had no idea that NGV could be so cool. For as long as I can remember, the NGV was a day-time activity, and you had to be knowledgeable with art to understand anything in the building. NGV Friday Nights has changed my perspective. It has attracted a new crowd, becoming an actual option for a social activity on a Friday night.

Guests can walk into the exhibition at any time. But to make the most of your experience, it’s best to go before or after the musical guest, as they appear to only do one set and then a DJ or a pre-made playlist takes over. You’re given a program guide when you submit your tickets, so it’s best to follow that. As for me, I relaxed with a drink and a few starters (chips, spring rolls, dumplings, etc.) while enjoying some live Australian music, before heading to the exhibition.

I’m not going to pretend I know a single thing about art. But I do appreciate it and respect it. I was, however, in awe of the eight or so sculptures that had been transported to Melbourne. These are delicate historical artefacts and it is amazing how we get the privilege to see them with our own eyes. All the Terracotta Warriors (and horses) were enclosed in large glass cases, and there were mirrors everywhere to create infinite reflections.


It’s not a long exhibition. I found myself at the NGV shop (marking the end of the exhibition) very quickly, and proceeded to the food court, selling mostly dumplings to keep with the theme.

You don’t have to go on a Friday night. If you’re not looking for a party vibe, it’s probably best to go on any other day of the week.

I’ve never been to China but it has always been on my bucket list to see the Terracotta Warriors. I’m not heading there any time soon though, so this exhibition was a great way to get a preview.