National Gallery of Australia


Ned Kelly – Sydney Nolan

Sidney Nolan’s 1946–47 series of paintings on the theme of the nineteenth-century bushranger Ned Kelly is one of the greatest sequences of Australian painting of the twentieth century. Nolan’s starkly simplified depiction of Kelly in his homemade armour has become an iconic Australian image. They are the setting for the artist’s meditations on the universal themes of violence, injustice, love and betrayal. Above all, the Kelly saga was a way for Nolan to paint the Australian landscape; he believed that it was ‘a story arising out of the bush and ending in the bush’.

Image Credit: Sidney Nolan, Ned Kelly 1946. Gift of Sunday Reed 1977.​

Family in Blue Holden – Trevor Nickolls

In Trevor Nickolls Family in blue Holden 1998 he works with multiple perspectives and iconography, providing an insight into his world of travelling between tradition and modernity, or what he called ‘dreamtime’ and ‘machinetime’. The central convertible blue FJ Holden, driven by a family of wandjina, transports the happy passengers, Gija artist Rover Thomas and Nickolls, through time and imagined realities. The presence of Ned Kelly, a blind kangaroo, the mini Holden ute and other elements are characters in a play that is at once intensely personal, wholly Aboriginal and universally Australian—a characteristic of his work in general.

Image Credit: Family in a Blue Holden © Trevor Nickolls/Licensed by Viscopy.2018​​

Les Trapezistes

Les Trapézistes was commissioned by Douglas Cooper, historian of Cubism and collector of the works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger. Cooper commissioned the painting for his house, the Château de Castille at Argilliers, Gard, in the south of France. He wrote that: “Léger finished the painting…in late July 1954, and the painting was installed in my stairwell in September. With its brilliant colours and simulated movement it looked marvellous; the dead and limiting area of the wall became animated and entered into the surrounding space.”

Image Credit: Les Trapezistes © Fernand Leger/ADAGP. Licensed by Viscopy. 2018

Indiguerillas illustration

The National Gallery of Australia commissioned duo Indonesian artists collectively known as Indieguerillas to create a world for children and families in NGA Play. Indieguerillas take us on a cultural journey through the stories of their home in Yogyakarta. Visitors to NGA Play are surrounded by colour, sound and joy and can ride a bike to create sound and movement, create their own digital avatar, shadow puppets and leave their work as part of the display in the YEAH GALLERY.

Image Credit: Illustration by Indieguerillas, Image courtesy of the artists

Strange, Beautiful and Unexpected

Taking inspiration from the National Gallery of Australia’s “Hyper Real” exhibition, The Electric Canvas plays with scale, metamorphosis and the unexpected. Animals are morphed together to become strange new creatures; tiny people climb the towering legs of a giant bird; a person takes a photo with the camera facing the wrong way…