02 June, 2023
Australia’s most iconic artists on show in Bendigo


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The humble Bubble O’Bill ice-cream has found its way on to the walls of Australia’s art galleries, but not as you might expect.

Near the entrance of Bendigo Art Gallery art lovers will be greeted by a large, melted Bubble O’Bill stuck to the wall. The artwork is a super-sized version of the artwork entitled ‘Melted Bubble’O’ by Melbourne-based artist Kenny Pittock.

It’s a taste of things to come inside with the Australiana: Designing a Nation exhibition.

The works of Australia’s most iconic artists – from Tom Roberts to Vincent Namatjira – are on display in this three-month exhibition that probes the question of Australian identity.

More than 200 diverse items are on show, including photos, fashion, jewellery, moving image and furniture.

Instantly recognisable art works, such as the bright colours of Ken Done paintings and the black and white photos taken by Rennie Ellis, will be sure to transport viewers to different eras in Australia’s history.

Ken Done’s Sydney Sunday.  Photo: Bendigo Tourism

One of the most historic pieces is the 1890 painting Shearing the Rams by Tom Roberts. Depicting the shearing of sheep in a timber shed, the painting is also one of Australia’s most well-known and loved artworks.

Then there’s the Blinky jumper by fashion designer Jenny Kee. The oversized knit, created in 1979, was made world-famous when it was worn by Princess Diana in 1982. Sent as a wedding gift to the princess, who was photographed wearing it while pregnant with Prince William.

Art lovers will also enjoy works by Sidney Nolan, Tony Albert, Paul McCann, Hilda Rix Nicholas and fashion label Romance Was Born.

Created in partnership with the NGV, the exhibition is a collection of pieces from both galleries as well as the Australiana Fund, which adorns the walls of the houses of the governor-general and the prime minister.

By showing the vast array of art over the past 200 years, the exhibition aims to examine the changing notions of Australian identity and style. Each work represents a time, a place and a culture, allowing viewers to reflect on how we saw ourselves in the past and how we see ourselves in the present.

Australiana: Designing a Nation can be found at the Bendigo Art Gallery until June 25, 2023.

To celebrate the exhibition, the Bendigo Tourism industry has created a program called ‘Fair Dinkum Bendigo – A Taste of Culture’ with over 60 inspired events, experiences and products’ for people to enjoy while they are here.

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