Over a year ago when it was announced that the Australia exhibition was coming to the RA, I counted down the days until it arrived. September 21st 2013 it finally opened, and I was first in line to go and see it. Having lived in Australia as a child, it has a very special place in my heart. Memories of running through that wild landscape, the breeze in my hair and the smell of peppy trees filling my nose, with not a care in the world. It is my calming place, my escape, and one day I will return to that paradise land down under.
I visited the exhibition with an Australian friend who now lives in London, and both of us wandered around in a dreamworld. The exhibition starts with a video of a motorcyclist riding through the outback. It reminded me of Route 1, the road that goes all the way around Australia. When I was nine years old we drove from Perth to Coral Bay, and the road in the video so reminded me of that. Every room of the exhibition brought back memories, with a piece of art in each room standing out and making my mind wander.
The exhibition has been organized with the National Gallery of Australia, and it marks the first major exhibiting of Australian art in over 50 years. The exhibition includes over two hundred works, spanning more than two hundred years, from 1800 to the present day. The pieces include paintings, drawings, photography, multimedia, watercolours, and Aboriginal dot paintings.
My favourite parts were the Aboriginal dot paintings and the colonial art. Golden Summer by Arthur Streeton was the highlight of the exhibition for me, as well as Sidney Nolan’s iconic Ned Kelly painting from 1946.
The Australia Exhibition at the Royal Academy is running until 8th December 2013, and is free to RA Members, and £14 for non-members.