The Childrens Gallery is dedicated to exhibitions drawn from the national collection, aimed at maximising the enjoyment and enrichment of a visiting child's experience. These exhibitions encourage and challenge children to be engaged and stimulated by art, and are supported by a range of interactive activities. Entry to the Childrens Gallery is free.
23 February 2013 – 4 August 2013 | Childrens gallery
An exhibition exploring artists’ responses to issues of sustainability, the natural environment and the interconnectedness of ecological systems.
Creating worlds will present a diverse selection of Australian and Indigenous art from the national collection including sculpture and mixed media, paintings, prints and photographic works. It aims to inspire audiences of all ages to take positive action for a sustainable future, and to excite and educate visitors about the creative possibilities for looking after and interacting with our environment. View more
Arthur Wicks Alchemist Dreaming: River = Water 2009 digital print National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, gift of the artist 2010
7 July 2012 – 10 February 2013 | Childrens gallery
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. Since the early 20th century when Picasso and Braque made their radical breakthrough with Cubism, there has been a flourishing of modern and contemporary art produced with text at its core. Alphabets with their infinite potential for words; the visual form of letters; the art of printmaking with its origins in typography; and the artists' book are some of the themes explored in this exhibition.
Brook Andrew, Wiradjuri people I see you 2005 (detail) Print, stencil National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Gift of the artist, donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2012
4 February - 24 June 2012 | Childrens gallery
Play embraces painting, photography, prints and sculpture from across the National Gallery of Australia’s remarkable collection. This exhibition reminds us of the importance of play in an artist’s practice, and in our lives.
Richard Tipping Sing 2004 print Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund, 2008 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
16 October 2010 – 18 Sept 2011 | Childrens Gallery
Connections explores the rich conversations that can take place between works of art across cultures, place and time.
Islamic works of art are paired with others in the national art collection under themes such as calligraphy, geometry, colour and the garden. Visitors will discover the beauty and diversity of Islamic art and develop an understanding of its influence around the world.
Iran Tile 17th century National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, bequest of William F Wells
19 February – 19 September 2010 | Childrens Gallery
Shimmer examines the many ways artists have employed colour, pattern, line and materials to give their work a special energy in the eye of the viewer. Through a display of works from the national collection, this exhibition explores various interpretations of the power of patterns.
Audrey Flack Jolie madame (Pretty woman) 1973 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1978 © Audrey Flack
21 March – 8 June 2009 | Childrens Gallery
Many artists are attracted to ideas of movement, change and transformation, and animals and beings (real and mystical) are favourite subjects when depicting these ideas in works of art.
Silently stirring explores these themes through prints, drawings, photography and sculpture from the national collection.View more
Lionel Lindsay Siesta 1924 wood-engraving National Gallery of Australia Bequest of Alan Queale, 1982
13 Sep 2008 – 8 March 2009 | Childrens Gallery
Visit an exhibition that is just like home. Home at last features prints, drawings, photographs, paintings and decorative arts by Australian artists from the national collection. The exhibition links art making and the home and demonstrates that works of art are often inspired by the artist’s home environment. Picture my world is a collaborative project between the Gallery and early childhood educational centres in the Canberra region in response to the themes of home and sense of place in Home at lastView more
Howard Arkley Floral exterior 1996 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2001 © The Estate of Howard Arkley
12 April – 30 August 2008 | Children's Gallery
An exhibition designed especially for children 3-8 years old in conjunction with Turner to Monet: the triumph of landscape.
Discover art works which are made from trees, are about trees or even things that live in trees. Treescape’s aim is to stimulate an appreciation of trees as a subject for interesting and exciting artworks.
See paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, sculpture, installations, furniture and more. Children can trace a tree to take home and have fun with a magnetic tree.
Patrick Collins Curtain call 2003 (detail) ceramic, earthenware, tin-glazed National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
14 July 2007 – 30 March 2008 | Children's GalleryBy looking closely at drawings we can get a powerful insight into the thoughts, ideas and processes that artists explore in their works.
Beginning with the drawings of George Lambert, Drawn in explores some of the ways in which artists use drawing. George Lambert was a master draughtsman, who captured the changing world around him through his pencil impressions and explored new artistic ideas. This exhibition aims to show the way drawing can make thinking visible.
John Brack 'Study for the painting and the lithograph 'Junior Latin American' [Sketch for 'Junior Latin American']' 1969 conte crayon, pencil image Collection of the National Gallery of Australia © Helen Brack
Tools & Techniques
14 April – 1 July 2007 | Children's Gallery
Designed to support The story of Australian printmaking 1801–2005, this exhibition displays materials and tools used by artists to create a variety of prints. Etchings, relief prints, lithographs and screenprints selected from the Australian print collection are exhibited with relevant tools and materials. Informative wall texts, extended labels and videos describe the processes explored by printmakers today and in the past.
John Brack 'Third daughter' 1954 print, intaglio Collection of the National Gallery of Australia © Helen Brack
Creeping through the jungle
9 December 2006 – 1 April 2007 | Children’s Gallery free exhibition
Journey back in time to explore the jungles of Australia, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. From a modern Australian artist’s views of the Queensland rainforest to an ancient Mayan ceramic jaguar, the Children’s Gallery comes alive with the flora and fauna of the tropics. Tropical rainforests contain between 50 and 90 percent of the world’s plant and animal species, yet many of these are under grave threat of extinction as a direct result of human activity. Children are encouraged to learn about the animal, bird, insect and plant life of tropical rainforest habitats and to think about their own place in the world and the environment.
detail: Sinu culture, Columbia ‘Finial in the form of a bird’ (c. 600-1200) gold. Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
the magic in conservation
28 July – 26 November 2006 | Children’s Gallery free exhibition
The crafted object will draw from the Gallery’s Abracadabra will be an overview of conservation techniques that reveal the mysteries hidden in works of art. Children will be able to use ultra violet light, magnification, X-ray games and computer technology to see invisible drawing in paintings, discover hidden repairs in ceramics and to see the internal structures of costumes and puppets.View moreConservation
image detail: X-ray of Sandwich man highlighting areas held together with tacks. Alexandra Exter Sandwich man [L’homme sandwich] 1926 watercolour and collage on cardboard with wood, cotton, string, book cloth, copper, sequins, steel tacks, bridge nails, steel wire and eyelets Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Come rain or shine
24 March – 12 June 2006 | Children's gallery
Working from the familiar idea of weather, which we all experience everyday, to the unexpected and dramatic, Come rain or shine will feature works of art from Pre-Columbian ceramic figures to Video Art.
The exhibition will include many references to the paintings of weather conditions, from storms to sun, that children can observe when viewing the exhibition. View more
image detail: James Fardoulys 'The Channel Country no.3' 1965, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Papua New Guinea
8 October 2005 – 12 March 2006
After generations of colonial rule, the free nation of Papua New Guinea was established in 1975. This exhibition celebrates 30 years of independence. Stories and images, both traditional and imaginary, are recorded in pen, pencil, woodcuts and screenprints – all new forms of expression to artists from the region. These prints and drawings, produced in the years around independence, show three ways in which Papua Nuginian artists responded to their contemporary world.
Timothy Akis 'not titled [bird]' 1974 screenprint, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Ulli and Georgina Beier Collection
Stage fright :
the art of theatre
3 March – 12 June 2006 | Children's gallery
Stage fright showcases works on paper and costumes from the National Gallery of Australia’s collection of Australian Theatre Arts. Stage fright will lead young children and their families on a voyage of discovery through mythology, fairytales, visionary worlds and fantasy characters through designs destined for the ballet, opera and the theatre stage.
detail: Loudon Sainthill 'Costume design for an attendant from The Man Who Loved Redheads' c.1954 pencil and gouache on paper Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
from the House of Tomorrow
19 March – 29 May 2005 | Children’s Gallery
futurePlay transforms the Children’s Gallery into an ultramodern playroom of the future.
Craig Walsh, David Thomasson, Steven Thomasson [GODLAB] Keith [RP11-345A12] 2003
2 October 2004 – 6 March 2005This exhibition exploits the dramatic qualities of big, bold – and scary – paintings. Drawn from the collection of Australian and International art, Big spooks features large neo-expressionist and surrealist-inspired paintings that will thrill and engage young viewers. Dare to enter the Children’s Gallery and see Big spooks!
Detail: Richard Bosman 'Drowning man' 1983 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
From little things big things grow
Gather round people I’ll tell you a story
12 June – 19 September 2004
This Children's Gallery exhibition features colourful, engaging works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists. The title is from Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody’s song about Indigenous Land Rights, and many of the works are imbued with a strong sense of story drawn from the artists’ own experiences of living and working on the land.
Detail: Joan Nancy Stokes 'The Black and White Ringers' 2002 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
13 March – 30 May 2004
Visit a recreated artist’s studio from the turn of the century in Making pictures, an exhibition for the Children’s Gallery. Designed to complement The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires, Making Pictures includes works by George Lambert, Hugh Ramsay, Thea Proctor and Rupert Bunny who were working in Europe during the Edwardian era. The exhibition also includes the original easel and paintbox belonging to Hugh Ramsay and facsimile editions of the artists’ sketch books. Children are invited to create their own self portrait and explore the display through other interactive activities.View more
Detail: George W Lambert 'Portrait Group' 1908 oil on canvas Collection of the National Gallery of Australia Purchased 1967
Geometry in design
15 November 2003 – 11 January 2004
Hard edge: geometry in design, shows how geometry has been used by designers and makers of furniture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, textiles and costume since the advent of the Modern movement of the late 19th century to the present. It draws from the Gallery’s extensive collection of Australian and international craft and design and has been selected to stimulate younger visitors, offering insights into the ways that designers have used geometry to extend their ideas and to link their work to the wider worlds of architecture and science.View more
Image: 'Hard edge' logo abstract graphic derived from National Gallery of Australia architecture
Photographers get off the ground
23 August – 2 November 2003
Bouncing on a trampoline, speeding through the air on a snowboard, jumping off the highest platform at the pool, riding the waves, diving out of a plane, bungee-jumping into a ravine: the thrill and appeal of being free from gravity and in a state far from an everyday earth-bound one is undeniable. So too have many photographers been fascinated with working out how to best capture on film the body hurtling through space. This exhibition explores this preoccupation through the work of International and Australian photographers from the 1880s to the present.
Detail: Rosemary Laing 'Flight research #6' 1999 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
In the box
28 March – 10 August 2003
In the box is an activity-based exhibition linking touch and sight – designed to engage young visitors with art by introducing them to a range of paintings from the Gallery's Australian art collection. Ten paintings about people have been selected for their strong narrative and rich detail. A chronological range of styles is displayed, conveying the idea of change in artmaking practice. An object represented in each painting is hidden inside a box. Children are asked to guess what the object is by making a connection between details in the painting and what they feel in the box. Questions and a trail provide additional clues and levels of interaction.
Detail: James Fardoulys 'Shearing the champions at Tinnemburrar' 1973 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia The Estate of James N Fardoulys
Kings and Chiefs
3 August 2002 – 12 January 2003
Royal Africa: Kings and Chiefs will be shown in the Children's Gallery.
It will be drawn from the Gallery's collection, evoking the splendour and diversity of royal courts in West and Central Africa over 600 years. It will highlight commercial, military and artistic connections between Europe and Africa long before the colonial period.
Detail: Artist unknown Yoruba people, Nigeria Ade: beaded crown early 20th century Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Life in the Emperor's Tomb
Ceramics from ancient China
23 February – 21 July 2002
From elegant storage vessels through to magnificent images of horses and camels, Life in the Emperor's Tomb recaptures the spirit of past worlds through one of the most traditional artistic mediums. This exhibition of ceramics date from the prehistoric period (c.2500 BC) through to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
Detail: 'Guardian Figure' [lokapala] Collection of the National Gallery of Australia Gift of Dr. T.T.Tsui LLD JP
The art and science of infra-red analysis
17 November 2001 10 February 2002
Have you ever wanted to look through the layers of a painting to the underdrawing first put down by the artist? The examination of works of art using infra-red light can reveal hidden features such as underdrawing and composition changes, aspects of the creation of a work of art that may not be visible in normal light. This technique is used by conservators to gather information about artists materials and techniques. Seeing Red provides a unique opportunity for children to get behind the scenes and envisage art in the making.
Detail: Infra-red image of detail from Augustus Earle 'A bivouac of travellers in Australia in a cabbage tree forest, daybreak' oil on canvas Rex Nan Kivell collection, National Library of Australia
Children's art of the twentieth century
7 Apr 15 July 2001
Childhoods Past features approximately 80 childrens drawings and paintings collected by Frances Derham (1894 1987), artist and educational pioneer. The images portray personal and cultural identity, family and school life, social and political events by children from indigenous Australian communities, urban and regional Australia, Europe and former Australian territories New Britain and Papua New Guinea.
detail: Unknown 'Animal, person, house' Vienna Frances Derham Collection National Gallery of Australia
Lost in Space
12 August 2000 – 25 March 2001
The children's exhibition Lost in Space is a world of cosmic shapes, flying cars, martians, twinkling stars, astronauts, space monsters, sparkling comets, lunar landscapes and the infinite blackness of space. Artists take up their paint, pencils, paper, prints, film, camera, metal and clay to give shape to their vision of space. Visit the interactive Lost in Space and links to other related sites. Meet the challenge of the children's trail and enjoy the wonder of Space.
View moreDetail: Greg Bell 'Every man Searching' 1985 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
2 October 1999 – 9 April 2000
DOG creates an opportunity to reflect on "man's best friend" and offers children a means to enjoy an exhibition experience showing pet dogs in the backyard, sled dogs in the Antarctic, hunting hounds and Australia's native dog – the dingo.
Detail: Frank Hurley 'Child and Puppy' 1914 Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
There's no place like home
13 March – 9 May 1999
In the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy returns from the illusionary world of Oz to the safety and familiarity of her home in Kansas by clicking the heels of her ruby red slippers and chanting the mantra: 'There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home' .Paula Dawson's work of the same name, There's no place like home (1979–80), a holographic representation of a living room in an installation of a suburban house, plays with the notion of representation in a similar way. There's no place like home blurs the boundaries between illusion and reality, just as Dorothy's trip down the Yellow Brick Road happily melded the world of dreams and the people of real life into a Technicolour land of magic.
Detail: Paula Dawson 'There's No Place Like Home' 1979-80 Collection of the artist
3 October 1998 – 31 January 1998
In September 1998 the National Gallery of Australia supplied school students throughout Australia with single-use Kodak cameras and asked them to capture the unique qualities of their communities.
The result is Hotshots, an exploration of Australia's diversity, its people and its land, seen through the eyes of young people.