Parliament House is currently

By the Sea

Artwork from Speaking Volumes exhibition
Narelle Autio (born 1969) Eli Creek, Frazer Island, QLD, 2003, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT

2 March to 10 May 2018

Entry: free
Location: Marble Foyer

This year, Australia’s ‘city on the beach’ the Gold Coast is hosting the Commonwealth Games over 12 days beginning on 4 April 2018. In celebration of this major event, this display of works from the Parliament House Art Collection showcases Australia’s beach culture and features diverse depictions of the beach by a range of Australian artists through paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptural objects.

Australians have a special relationship with the beach. As an island we have 25,670 kilometres of coastline from sandy shores to rocky cliffs. The beach is a delight for the senses - the gritty sand underfoot, salty air breathed in deep, water lapping at your toes, and the sound of waves crashing. So it’s no surprise that the beach is a beloved subject for many Australian artists.

The beach represents different things to different people; a surfer’s playground, a place of exploration, a place to walk with others or your own thoughts or a place to the watch the day start and end. The beach is also an important site for many Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples as a place of traditional food sources and material culture. Artists have engaged with this rich subject matter in many different ways, these artists include Brett Whiteley, Vicki West, David Rose, Robert Foster, Max Dupain, Narelle Autio, Aiona Tala Gaidan, Laurie Nona, Ken Thaiday, John Passmore, Scott Redford & Ritchey Sealy and Geoff Strong.

Vicki West artwork
Vicki West (born 1960) Vessel, 2013, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT