image: Costume design for Shah Zeman 1910
Issue 145 | April 2011
Event highlights | Gallery news | Ballets Russes | Varilaku | Fred Williams | Competition
01 Ballets Russes extended to 1 May

Ballets Russes: the art of costume is open late every Saturday until 7.00 pm and over the Easter break until 1 May 2011

We are delighted to offer this additional viewing time for the Australian public to see Ballets Russes especially as we have been able to extend its showing to include the Easter and Anzac holiday break. These costumes are the most fragile works of art in the national collection; it will be a long time before they can be displayed again in such numbers.
Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia

Win a Ballets Russes shop pack just by telling us who's your favourite artist in the exhibition and why in 25 words or less. Email with the subject line 'Ballets Russes shop pack' before 30 April 2011 to enter the competition.

Works sorted by artist can be browsed on the website here.

Premium Sunday
Sunday 10 April and Sunday 1 May, 9.00 am
$40, $35 members (no concessions) | places limited, tickets at
Come to the Gallery on Sunday morning before Ballets Russes opens to the weekend crowds. Premium Sunday, with exhibition curator Dr Robert Bell and voluntary guides, provides the perfect opportunity to relax, enjoy and ask questions about the many spectacular costumes and accessories on display in the exhibition.

Curator’s perspective 
Tuesday 12 April 12.45 pm 
Dr Robert Bell, curator of Ballets Russes, provides an overview of the exhibition.

image: Andr� Derain Costume for the White Poodle c 1919 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1973André Derain Costume for the White Poodle c 1919 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1973

Above: Léon Bakst Costume design for Shah Zeman 1910 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1980
Liz Lea performs 'Bluebirds' at the Gallery
02 Varilaku

Varilaku: Pacific arts from the Solomon Islands is a free exhibition and runs until 29 May 2011

Forum: Varilaku
16–17 April 2011
$130, $120 (includes Saturday lunch and exhibition catalogue) | bookings 02 6240 6528
The National Gallery of Australia, in collaboration with the Oceanic Art Society, presents a two-day forum.

Saturday 16 April 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
A focus on the kastom arts of the Solomon Islands, including international experts on Solomon Islander art, culture and history.
Keynotes: Lawrence Foan'aota OBE (supported by DFAT) and Dr Deborah Waite, University of Hawaii
Speakers: Rhys Richards, cultural historian and former New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Dr Prue Ahrens, University of Queensland, Crispin Howarth, National Gallery of Australia
Sunday 17 April 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
The National Gallery of Australia hosts the Fourth Annual Forum of the
Oceanic Art Society, which features a range of speakers on arts from
Papua New Guinea.

Curator Crispin Howarth shows His Excellency Beraki Jino, High Commissioner of the Solomon Islands, Director Ron Radford and Chris Chevalier some highlights of the exhibition
Liz Lea performs 'Bluebirds' at the Gallery
03 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events
and details

Maireener shell necklaces workshop
Sat 2 April 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, repeated 2.00–4.00 pm
$60 workshop, $55 members/concession
Tasmanian artists Dulcie Greeno and Lola Greeno talk about the history and cultural significance of making shell necklaces, during a workshop in which participants create their own maireener shell bracelet.

Mosaic madness
ages 8–12
Tues 19 April 10.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2.00–4.00 pm | $25, $20 | bookings 02 6240 6528
Using shape and colour, design your own mosaic-inspired work of art with Lucy Quinn, Gallery educator.

ages 8–12
Wed 20 April 10.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2.00–4.00 pm | $30, $20 | bookings 02 6240 6528
Be inspired by the jewellery on display in the decorative arts gallery and create your own wearable art, or ‘bling’, from unusual materials that sparkle, shine and glisten.

Sounding the NGA
Monday 16 May 5.00 pm
$44, $39 members | bookings through Canberra Ticketing (02) 6275 2700 or
The 17th Canberra International Music Festival, which celebrates the centenary of the designs of Canberra by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney, continues its Amazing Spaces series at the National Gallery of Australia with performances by Pekka Kuusisto (violin), Timothy Constable (marimba), Felix Renggli (baroque and modern flute) and the duo Asbjørn Nørgaard (viola) and Andreas Borregaard (accordion).

Wayang kulit (shadow puppet drama of Java)
Saturday 21 May 2.00 pm
Enjoy stories told through the magical Javanese art of wayang kuilt (shadow drama), one of the oldest continuous traditions of storytelling in the world, accompanied by a traditional gamelan (orchestra). In collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy.

Brave new world
Sunday 22 May 2.30 pm
$48, $38 members/concession | bookings through Canberra Ticketing (02) 6275 2700
International award-winning ensemble Tinalley String Quartet performs Brave new world, the first of three concerts in their inaugural National Concert Season. This first concert pays homage to Haydn, Shostakovich and Debussy, three remarkable composers whose daring defined the quartet medium over 200 years. See for more information and become a TSQ subscriber to receive discounts and benefits.

Print sampler
Saturday 28 May 10.30 am – 4.00 pm
$95, $90 members/concession (includes materials) | bookings 02 6240 6528
Try your hand at etching and screenprinting in the professional studios at Megalo Print Studio + Gallery. Participants to bring their own food.

FORUM: Let’s talk recognition …
Friday 3 June 11.00 am – 3.00 pm
$30, $25 members/concession (includes lunch) | bookings 02 6240 6528
The National Gallery of Australia, in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia, will celebrate Reconciliation Week 2011 with a forum on the theme of recognition.

imageDavid Walker Crosweave brooch 1 1983 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased from admission charges 1983

Above: Liz Lea performing Bluebird, Australian Garden, 24 February 2011

Javanese people Shadow puppet [wayang gedog] late 19th century National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1973
image: Emily Kam Kngwarray 'Yam awely' 1995 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, gift of the Delmore Collection, Donald and Janet Holt 1995 © Emily Kam Kngwarray. Licensed by Viscopy
04 Slow Art 16 April 2011

Slow Art 2011
Saturday 16 April 6.00 am
(viewing of Turrell’s Skyspace)
and 11.00 am – 2.00 pm
Free | registration required (02) 6240 6524
On average, a visitor spends only eight seconds looking at an individual work of art. Slow Art Day encourages a more contemplative approach to art and is celebrated in over 50 galleries throughout the world.

Enjoy some of the national art collection highlights, including Emily Kam Kngwarray’s Yam awely 1995 and Grace Cossington Smith’s Interior in yellow1962, and give them the attention they deserve. Then join the group for a lively facilitated discussion over lunch.

A full list of works will be provided to participants on registration. Participants to purchase their own lunch. More information

imageJames Turrell Within without 2010 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased with the support of visitors to the exhibition Masterpieces from Paris 2010  Photographs: John Gollings

Slow art is on facebook
image of pin board
05 Behind
the scenes Fred Williams retrospective
part 2

Fred Williams will open on 12 August 2011

Putting together a major artist retrospective is an important challenge for a curator, demanding a meaningful exploration of the artist's career over time. Curator Deborah Hart has travelled all over Australia to view works held in public and private collections to find key examples from different stages of Fred Williams's artistic development.
There are particular periods when an artist like Williams was producing many works of a high standard and the decisions become quite difficult. The curator has to consider carefully the inter-relationships between the works in each room and the flow of works across the whole exhibition, with the aim of bringing together a cohesive, inspiring and lively exhibition.
One of the techniques Deborah Hart uses when building an idea of the works she will include in an exhibition is to pin images she has been looking at over a long period on boards in her office. These boards help to keep the works in the curator's mind as she is working, and assist when she begins to consider how groups of works might be best displayed together in the exhibition.

Read part 1

Fred Williams (Beachscape, Erith Island I) 1974 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased from Gallery admission charges 1983 © Estate of Fred Williams

Above: Curator Deborah Hart's pin board
06 Gala dinner 2011

Nation Gallery of Australia Foundation Fundraising Gala Dinner & American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia Visit

On 17 March 2011, 12 guests from the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia arrived in Canberra. Over the course of six days our American friends participated in a program of events in Canberra and Sydney that was designed to familiarise them with the Gallery, the national art collection and the visual arts in Australia more broadly. This group of committed supporters are great ambassadors for the National Gallery of Australia. Their goal is to raise awareness and attract further support by sharing their passion for Australia and her national visual arts institute with their American friends and colleagues.

The American Friends visit coincided with the fourth annual National Gallery of Australia Foundation Fundraising Gala Dinner, held on Saturday 19 March 2011. The evening began with French champagne and the unveiling of two exquisite Indian pichhavai (or shrine hangings) acquired with funds donated by guests and other generous supporters. One of the principal philanthropic events on the visual arts calendar, the Gala Dinner is an evening of fine art, good food and spirited good company.

If you would like to support the National Gallery of Australia through the Foundation please contact the Executive Director, Maryanne Voyazis on 02 6240 6691.

Gala dinner welcome drinks
(L–R) Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards, Alexander Gough, Janet Calvert-Jones AO, Alan Froud, John Calvert-Jones AM and Stephanie Fowler
07 Heysen for the nation

This year’s Masterpieces for the Nation campaign is now in full swing with donations made used to acquire Nora Heysen’s striking Self-portrait 1932, a much admired painting and an important addition to the national art collection. Heysen painted Self-portrait in 1932 at the age of 21. She was living in South Australia, her home state, with which she maintained strong connections throughout her life. The Gallery seeks to represent art from each state and territory in Australia and has for some time sought to better represent this important South Australian-born artist. The acquisition of Self-portrait 1932 is particularly significant in 2011 which marks the centenary of Heysen’s birth.

Many thanks to those generous donors who have already contributed towards the acquisition of this significant painting.

If you would like to make a donation please enquire here

Nora Heysen Self-portrait 1932 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Purchased 2010Nora Heysen Self-portrait 1932 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

08 Meet
a guide

Explore, expand, excite—three words which aptly describe why, 29 years on, I am still a voluntary guide at the National Gallery of Australia.  A guide’s role encompasses all three: exploring works of art with visitors either on tours of the Australian, Indigenous or International collections or in smaller groups such as A Little Look at Art—for young families, or Rendezvous With Art in which small groups explore and discuss a theme with guides.  We relish expanding our knowledge through research. Schoolchildren are by far our largest audience and we hope to excite them to return, look more and come to love art.  Other special groups who come on booked tours are Preschoolers, People with Special Access Needs, Carers and our Alzheimers group.  My hope is to make a difference and help people to really look at the works of art.

Kerin Cox
National Gallery of Australia
Voluntary guide

Free guided tours are held at these times:
Australian art 10.30 am and 1.30 pm daily
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art 12.30 pm Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
Collection highlights 11.30 am and 2.30 pm daily |  plus 12.30 pm on Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat.

Voluntary guide Kerin Cox conducts a tour of the international Surrealism gallery
09 Support

Support the National Gallery of Australia or give the gift of membership. Enjoy exclusive exhibition viewings, participate in members-only programs and workshops, be stimulated by engaging events and meet like-minded people.

Learn more and join

Members enjoy the Ballets Russes high tea