Australiana: Designing a Nation

‘Australiana: Designing a Nation’ is an exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery on show until 25 June 2023 exploring how art and design has channelled the identity and style of Australia with particular attention to the iconography of ‘Australiana’ over time.

Image: Kenny Pittock. Melted Bubble’O’2020, synthetic polymer paint on ceramic. Courtesy of the artist Kenny Pittock and MARS Gallery.
Image: Tony Albert Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji 1981 CLASH 2019 synthetic polymer paint and found vintage objects applied to plastic-polyester, powder-coated aluminium Collection of the artist

The gallery promises that ‘through the use of native materials and motifs, playful remixes of popular culture, and incisive reflections on nationalistic sentiment, the visual language of Australiana celebrates—and interrogates—who we are.’

Image: Vincent Namatjira. The Royal Tour (Vincent and Elizabeth on Country) 2022, synthetic polymer paint on linen. Bendigo Art Gallery. Photo: Leon Schoots.
Image: Rennie Ellis. At the Pub, QLD 1982 (printed in 2022), silver gelatin print. Bendigo Art Gallery. Image courtesy Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive.

200 artists and designers are represented in the show which spans visual and decorative arts, photography, illustration, furniture, jewellery, moving image and fashion. Not only does the exhibition highlight iconography that we’ve become attune to, it also celebrates the household names of Australian art from Tony Albert, to Ken Done, Romance Was Born, Tom Roberts, and many more.

Running in parallel to Australiana: Designing a Nation is Fair Dinkum Bendigo a festival which invites you to delight in the ‘food, art and culture of our nation.’

Image: Ken Done, Sydney Sunday 1982, oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Bendigo Art Gallery 2023. Courtesy of the artist.