A Portrait of Australia: Stories Through the lens of Australian Geographic is touring the country as part of an unprecedented partnership between the National Museum of Australia and Australian Geographic.
The stunning display of large format photographic prints unites the expertise of Australian Geographic’s acclaimed photographers and the National Museum’s interpretive storytelling experience.
National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca, said, “This is a marvellous opportunity to take Australian stories to venues around the country by combining the National Museum’s exhibition and curatorial expertise with Australian Geographic’s 30 years of unparalleled photographic coverage of Australia’s land, nature and people.”
“This exhibition celebrates the bush, the outback, the coast and the people who live and work there. Featuring photographs from the Australian Geographic archive, it will transport you to some of the most rugged and remote parts of the country where you will discover the remarkable stories of ordinary Australians,” Dr Trinca said.
Australian Geographic’s editor in chief, Chrissie Goldrick, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the National Museum of Australia. Both organisations strive to tell authentic Australian stories using the very finest storytelling methods, whether it be words, images or objects. These beautifully presented exhibitions transform our words and pictures into a truly immersive experience.”
The photographs will tour Australia for the next two years and were drawn from a book A Portrait of Australia, which was produced to celebrate 30 years of Australian Geographic’s magazine.
Venues around the country can select from a collection of 60 photographs to tell their own regional stories – and the stories of the nation. Warwick Art Gallery Director Karina Devine enlisted the help of two Southern Downs photographers, Chris Johnson and Karen Johnson, to select 18 images for the Orange Wall Gallery.
A travelling exhibition from the National Museum of Australia developed in collaboration with Australian Geographic
Image: Along the Birdsville Tracknear Birdsville, Queensland photo by Colin Beard
70% of the world’s population live in an urban environment. Each day everywhere people rush from one place to another and back again in robotic motion staring at their phones and listening to manufactured music, switched off from the world around them. To meander is to take time to connect with nature and experience the time passing, the harshness and beauty of the physical and the spiritual world. It is to appreciate that each moment is a destination that arrives and passes. This exhibition is about this connection we make when we wander and are present in the moment, happily mindful of place. It is finding small detail, colour, form and atmosphere that allows our minds to open and unravel.
Peter has collected soils from the inland and wood ash to mix with pigments and clay to create a series of works, both ceramic and painting. The works seek to reflect the ephemeral passing of time, the roughness created by the elements contrasted with the stillness and peace inherent in the natural world.
Several journeys have contributed to this work. The first journey was from Warwick to Broken Hill following the Darling River from Bourke to Wilcannia and visiting the Gundabooka National Park. The red soil of Gundabooka features in the ceramic works and paintings. Here Peter made drawings, collected samples of soil and viewed the vibrant indigenous rock art. The second journey was to Japan where he visited the Ceramic Museum at Mashiko and viewed a current exhibition of ceramic art. The simple beauty of the forms enhanced by the ancient traditions of Japan made a deep impression. This experience provided impetus to find his own expression of nature through Australian ceramics. This exhibition is an increment of that exploration and creativity.
Image: Meander, Peter Osborn, 2020, Clay slips ash and gouache on stretched linen