Gold and the Incas Lost worlds of Peru

Opens 6 December 2013 – 21 April 2014, Canberra only
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The National Gallery of Australia will host a major international exhibition, Gold and the Incas: Lost Worlds of Peru from 6 December 2013 until 21 April 2014. The exhibition will be on display in Canberra only.

Gold and the Incas is the first exhibition of Peruvian art ever staged in Australia and will showcase the splendour of the ancient pre-Hispanic cultures of Peru. Audiences will encounter the aesthetic depth, drama and beauty of the famous Incan empire and its predecessors. More than 200 objects, from scintillating gold pieces made to decorate the nobility in life or in death, intricate jewellery, elaborate embroidered and woven cloths to breathtakingly sophisticated ceramic sculptures will be on display.

For more than 2,000 years before the Spanish came to Peru, great cultures rose and fell, were conquered by others or absorbed into them. Almost every artefact that survives was buried with their owners, to be re-discovered in modern times.

Gold and silver were plundered by the Conquistadors, sent to Spain and melted down to make coins. But in the last 100 years there have been extraordinary archaeological finds, and much scientific research is occurring today. Sites such as Sipán and Chan Chan, Piura and Lambayeque have their own museums, and have generously lent some of their greatest treasures to the National Gallery of Australia.

Many extraordinary objects will be on view which belong to the Larco, Oro and Amano museums in Lima, all founded by Peruvian archaeologists and collectors, while the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History has a central role in national life.

(images at left)
North coast 750–1375 AD
Tumi [Sacrifical knife] Museo Oro del Perú, Lima © Photograph Daniel Giannoni

CHAVÍN culture
Northern highlands 1800–200 BC
Winged deity holding a severed head c. 1000 BC Fundación Museo Amano, Lima
© Photograph Daniel Giannoni

(image above and banner detail)
MOCHE culture North coast 100–800 AD
Bead in the form of an owl’s head
Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, Lambayeque © Photograph Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán

opens at
the Royal Academy of Art, London

Beginning at 1800 and continuing until the present day, Australia shows more than 200 years of Australian art on the theme of land and landscape. It is the largest and most complete historical survey of Australian art ever to be displayed in Britain.

Australians have a strong connection with their distinctive land and landscape painting. The exhibition traces the development of Australian landscape art, which was the dominant focus of Australian art for more than 150 years. Although this is mainly a painting exhibition it also includes prints, drawings, photography, video and some sculpture. It includes works by 38 living artists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art makes up a quarter of the selection, with works ranging from one of the earliest surviving bark paintings to contemporary urban Aboriginal art. The theme of the exhibition reflects the importance of land and country to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and its influence on their art practice.

The exhibition will include works by Aboriginal artists such as William Barak, Albert Namatjira, Rover Thomas, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and a number of artists from the Papunya Tula group of the Western Desert. Nineteenth century European immigrants such as John Glover and Eugene von Guérard will also feature. Works by Australian Impressionists, Tom Roberts, a student of the Royal Academy Schools, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder will also be shown, as will paintings by early Sydney Modernists such as Roy de Maistre, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.

More recent artists like Arthur Boyd, Rosalie Gascoigne, Sidney Nolan RA, Fred Williams and Brett Whiteley are also included. The exhibition will end in the twenty-first century with internationally recognised artists such as Shaun Gladwell, Bill Henson, Christian Thompson, and Simryn Gill, who represented Australia this year at the Venice Biennale.

Visual art was the first art form the settlers developed, well before literature, music, dance and theatre. Aboriginal culture has always been highly visual and visual art remains the strongest art form in Australia. This exhibition provides the opportunity for the world to see Australians as the creative and visual people they are, and to appreciate the great diversity of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous art of our ‘wilful lavish land’.

The exhibition has been curated by Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions, Royal Academy of Arts and co-curated by Dr Ron Radford AM, Director, National Gallery of Australia and Dr Anne Gray, Head of Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia.

(image at left) Rover Thomas [Joolama]
Kukatja/Wangkajunga peoples
Cyclone Tracy 1991 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1991 © the artist's estate courtesy Warmun Art Centre

(image above) Sidney Nolan
Ned Kelly 1946 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Sunday Reed 1977

collection video talks

This month Curator Christine Dixon discusses Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles 1952

For more in this series of engaging curatorial talks visit our vimeo channel

Member's news

Members travelling to London between 21 September – 8 December are invited to enjoy complimentary exhibition entry to Australia  at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.
Australia is the largest and most complete historical survey of Australian art ever to be displayed in Britain, an exhibition not to be missed! *

Remember to take your current membership card with you to enjoy this unique opportunity.

* This offer is only available to members of the National Gallery of Australia; reciprocal membership benefits do not apply to this offer.

Become a member
Join the Gallery and enjoy exclusive exhibition viewings, participate in members-only programs, be stimulated by engaging events and meet like-minded people. Visit us at nga.gov.au/Members

National Summer Art Scholarship 2014 January 2014

Artist, conservator, curator, designer, educator, multimedia, public relations, publishing… There’s more to a career in the visual arts than meets the eye!

If you are in Year 11 and interested in art, you can spend a week this summer at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Become one of sixteen students selected from around the nation—two from each state and territory—to participate in the National Summer Art Scholarship in 2014 (12 – 18 January 2014)

The scholarship program offers an opportunity to engage with the staff at the National Gallery of Australia, as well as other arts professionals, artists and your peers from around the nation.

The week-long program offers students entering year 12 in 2014 the opportunity to spend a week at the National Gallery of Australia immersed in the visual arts. Students engage with the national collection, the behind-the-scenes workings of the gallery, as well as their peers from around Australia. Do not miss this opportunity!

Applications close
Monday 21 October 2013

Simryn Gill A small town at the turn of the century no 5 1999-2000 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra purchased 2012

More information and application forms available online here


Sunday 27 October 11 am–2 pm

All ages and abilities are welcome to join us for this community event celebrating drawing (children are to be accompanied). Using the National Gallery's permanent collection as inspiration, the day will consist of a range of artist-facilitated workshops exploring different approaches to drawing.

Free | throughout the Gallery

More information here

Bird catching set III 2006
from a set of two acquatints and drypointsThe Poynton Bequest 2013

Win tickets to 'Mystery Road'

a brutal crime, 
a rookie cop out of his depth
stands alone between two worlds,
where the mystery lies just below the surface
Mystery Road … 

From one of Australia’s most acclaimed directors Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) comes the opening night film of the Sydney Film Festival 2013. 

Mystery Road stars Aaron Pedersen in a bravura performance as a rookie Indigenous detective who returns to his outback hometown to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. 

Alienated from both the white dominated police force, including enigmatic cop Johnno, played by the always compelling Hugo Weaving, and his own Indigenous community, Jay stands alone in his determination to fight back for his town and his people. Filmed on location in the stunning landscapes of western Queensland, Mystery Road’s superb all-star cast also includes Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Tasma Walton, Damien Walshe-Howling, Zoe Carides, Robert Mammone, Samara Weaving and Roy Billing. 

Mystery Road, which has its international premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, opens at selected cinemas nationally from October 17.

For the chance to win one of two tickets to see 'Mystery Road', released on the 17th of October, please email marketing@nga.gov.au.

Winners will be selected at random and emailed on the 15th of October. Ticket passes are valid for any cinema in which the movie is showing, and will be valid for the entire duration of the screening period. Tickets may not be exchanged for money.

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