Australian art is fundamentally fascinating, whether it’s the product of the country’s unique indigenous culture or made by 19th century colonists and nation-builders – a group of Europeans tasked with coming to terms with a vast and utterly alien land.
To celebrate this extraordinarily diverse body of work, the Royal of Academy of Arts will be holding a major exhibition this autumn. Entitled Australia, curators claim it represents “the first major survey of Australian art in the UK for 50 years”.
Accordingly, it should prove an excellent opportunity for those staying in London to explore the antipodes – without leaving the cosmopolitan comfort of the English capital.
The exhibition spans just over two centuries, from 1800 to the present day, giving visitors a glimpse into how Australia has evolved – both socially and culturally – since it was first visited by the west.
“[It will] shed light on a period of rapid and intense change – from the impact of colonisation on an indigenous people, to the pioneering nation building of the 19th century through to the enterprising urbanisation of the last 100 years,” according to curators.
The exhibition comprises around 200 works and the media themselves are truly diverse – attendees will be able to gaze at paintings, drawings, photographs and even high-definition video art.
Representing the vastness of the country and the variety of its population, contemporary aboriginal art will hang alongside watercolours by 19th century settlers, works by more recent immigrants and big names from the modern Australian art scene.
This monumental showcase has come about thanks to the cooperation of some of Australia’s most important public art collections. Many of these works have never been seen in the UK before.
The Royal Academy is headquartered at Burlington House, which should be easy to reach for those staying at luxury London hotels – it’s a short walk from the Piccadilly Circus tube stop.
Australia opens on September 21st and runs until December 8th.