In “not exactly local news but cool anyway news” The Royal Academy of Arts in the UK has announced that it will be presenting an exhibition called Australia. Australia is a collection of Australian works, spanning over 200 years and feature over 200 works.
These works are being supplied by our National Gallery here in Canberra.
This news is obviously very exciting because of Australian arts being seen on a world stage involved, but is also good news for Canberra art lovers in general. Relationships between institutions are the reason we get nice things like Turner from the Tate.
The story of Australian art is inextricably linked to its landscape. An ancient land of dramatic beauty, a source of production, enjoyment, relaxation and inspiration, yet seemingly loaded with mystery and danger. For Australian artists, this deep connection with the landscape has provided a rich seam of inspiration for centuries. In 1948, the Australian artist, and Royal Academician, Sidney Nolan (1917-92) said of his iconic Ned Kelly series that it was ‘a story arising out of the bush and ending in the bush’. He believed strongly that an understanding of landscape was central to his work, giving meaning to place, and commented that he found ‘the desire to paint the landscape involves a wish to hear more of the stories that take place in the landscape’.
The exhibition will map the period of rapid and intense change; from the impact of the first settlers and colonisation on the indigenous people to the pioneering nation-building of the nineteenth century, through to the enterprising urbanisation of the last century. Reflecting the vastness of the land and the diversity of its people, early, as well as contemporary Aboriginal art will sit alongside the work of the first colonial settlers, immigrant artists of the twentieth century and the work of some of today’s most established Australian artists.