Finding the dry heart: Sidney Nolan’s early travels in Central Australia

26 Nov 2021 - 2 Apr 2022

After completing the first Ned Kelly series in mid-1947, Sidney Nolan’s ambition to address the landscape and mythologies of Australia in a new way significantly expanded beyond his more familiar terrain of northern Victoria. On his trip through northern Queensland in that year, he witnessed the wide expanse of the dry savannah for the first time and came back determined to see more. Over the next three years he undertook two further extensive journeys through Central Australia and Queensland with his new wife Cynthia, a writer. Taking photographs, notes, and some drawings, back into the studio in Sydney, Nolan developed cycles of work addressing the failures of historic colonial encounter, the ironies and richness of this so-called ‘dead centre’, and his personal response to the sheer overwhelming scale of the country.

Nolan’s fascination for Central Australia at mid-century came at a time of growing popular and creative interest in these dry inland landscapes, as less of a frontier and more place of yearning for an imagined ‘real’ Australia.

The display features paintings from the Foundation Collection, alongside some of the reading material Sidney and Cynthia Nolan absorbed in their creative research, and a group of works loaned by Duncan Reeder. The works were collected by his late father, the curator and art museum director Warwick Reeder.

Costs

This is a free event.

, Ripolin oil enamel, Dulux alkyd and
Sidney Nolan, Central Australia 1950

Dates

26 Nov 2021 - 2 Apr 2022
January 2022
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February 2022
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March 2022
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April 2022
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Location

Canberra Museum and GalleryCnr London Circuit and Civic Square, Canberra City, Australian Capital Territory, AustraliaMap of the venue locationMap of the venue location

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Accessibility

Actively welcomes people with access needs.

  • Welcomes and assists people who have challenges with learning, communication, understanding and behaviour. (includes people with autism, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, acquired brain injury (ABI), dyslexia and dementia)
  • Caters for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
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  • Caters for people with high support needs who travel with a support person.