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Current exhibitions

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Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly, 1946 (Detail) Enamel paint on composition board, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Gift of Sunday Reed, 1977
Current exhibition

Gold and the Incas

Lost worlds of Peru

6 December 2013 – 21 April 2014 | Temporary Exhibitions Gallery


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.

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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

Current exhibition

Garden of the East

photography in Indonesia 1850s–1940s

21 February – 22 June 2014 | Orde Poynton and Project Galleries


In 1852, at the age of eighteen, Walter B Woodbury left behind his engineering apprenticeship in Manchester to try his luck halfway around the world in Australia’s Victorian goldfields. On arrival, he realised the easy pickings were gone and he took a variety of jobs, soon changing from a rather sheltered British ‘new chum’ into a seasoned colonial.

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Thilly Weissenborn
Balineesch dansmeisj in rust (A dancing-girl of Bali, resting) c 1925 (detail)
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2007

Future exhibition

Light moves

Australian contemporary video art

18 April – 20 July 2014


This display highlight some of the newer additions to the national collection as well as the extensive video holdings collected over the past 40 years with monthly screenings of video art from the collection for the duration of the display.

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Daniel Crooks Pan No. 9 (dopplegänger) (detail) 2012, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2012

Future exhibition


Sacred gods from Polynesia

23 May – 3 August 2014


The exhibition explores the relationship between atua and art, between spirits and sculpture, between gods and priests, between women and men. It looks at some of the most unique works of art in the Polynesian world and tries to make sense of an enduring mystery surrounding religious objects and their association with belief in gods.

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Maori Frontal base-board [paepae] from the facade of a chief's storehouse 19th century (detail), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1981


Island of the gods

13 June – 3 August 2014


The exhibition showcases a wide range of works—sculpture, textiles, paintings, architectural elements and ritual objects that will excite and surprise visitors, even those who have journeyed to the exotic island.

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Rengann, Bali Sacred Textile (geringsing wayang kebo) late 19th century (detail), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1982

At five in the afternoon

Robert Motherwell

12 July – 6 October 2014


Unlike many Abstract Expressionists, Robert Motherwell was an accomplished printmaker. He created 'painterly prints' with a spontaneity of gesture and freshness of expression rarely seen in this style before. The exhibition reveals how Motherwell created inventive collages and an imagery of gestural flourishes, and is drawn entirely from the Gallery's rich collection of his prints.

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Robert Motherwell, Three figures 1989, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund 2002 © Robert Motherwell/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy

Stars of the Tokyo Stage

Natori Shunsen's kabuki actor prints

19 July – 12 October 2014


Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen's kabuki actor prints reveals the dynamic world of Japan's kabuki theatre through superb actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (18861960) in the 1920s and 30s. A selection of spectacular kabuki robes further illustrates the extravagance of the theatrical form.

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Natori Shunsen Ichikawa Sadanji II as Narukami in ‘Narukami’ 1926 (detail)
from the series Collection of creative portraits by Shunsen woodblock print National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2006

Arthur Boyd

Agony and Ecstacy

5 Sept – 9 Nov 2014


Arthur Boyd: Agony and Ecstasy is a major exhibition of Boyd's art including more than 100 works across diverse media: paintings, prints, drawings, ceramic tiles and sculptures, and tapestries.  The show is not a retrospective but rather provides the opportunity to take a close look at a number of works that have never or rarely been previously exhibited. 

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Arthur Boyd Nebuchadnezzar making a cloud 1968 oil on canvas The Arthur Boyd Gift, 1975 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra