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'Imagining Ned' Exhibition

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Sidney Nolan - Kelly 1946 - enamel on cardboard - Collection, The Nolan Collection at Canberra Museum and Gallery is managed on behalf of the Australian Government"

'Imagining Ned - The Story of Ned Kelly and the Art He Inspires' will be on display exclusively at Bendigo Art Gallery from 28 March to 28 June 2015.

This major exhibition will explore the incredible influence Ned Kelly has had on the visual arts.

Kelly remains a highly mythologised character in Australian history. Some view him as a murderous villain and outlaw, while others proclaim him a misunderstood folk hero – an Australian Robin Hood.

His story has captured the imaginations of Australian artists and writers over the last century and this unique exhibition will showcase items drawn from several private and public collections, including historical items and major artworks rarely accessible to the public.

One of the highlights of this exhibition is previously unseen artworks by Sidney Nolan from private collections.

Sidney Nolan Kelly in the bush 1945 - enamel on cardboard - Collection, The Nolan Collection at Canberra Museum and Gallery is managed on behalf of the Australian Government

Sidney Nolan was a sixth generation Australian who was proud of his Irish ancestry. His grandfather had been a police sergeant in the party who pursued the Kelly gang at Beechworth in the 1870s. Nolan produced his first Kelly series of works in the 1940s, exploring the themes of love, violence, betrayal and injustice, and depicting the Australian landscape in a thoroughly modern way. In Nolan's opinion "Kelly was not half rebel, half criminal, he was a rebel reformer."

Adam Cullen, Unforgiven (Ned Kelly and Constable Fitzpatrick) 2011 - acrylic and ink on linen, - Private collection, reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Adam Cullen and Michael Reid Art Gallery

Complementing Nolan's works are various paintings, drawings, photographic works, film related material, sculptures and ceramics by the likes of Norman Lindsay, Arthur Boyd, Juan Davila and Adam Cullen.

The Gallery is also grateful to the numerous private and institutional lenders for their generous support in lending significant objects from their collections for this exhibition, including Ned Kelly's iconic armour, the death mask and the Jerilderie letter from the State Library of Victoria.

Suit of armour worn by Ned Kelly 1880, steel, leather, State Library of Victoria

This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the life, myth and legend of Ned Kelly and also view and appreciate the extraordinary art he inspired.

Tickets for the exhibition will be available from Gallery Reception daily.

Tickets are priced as follows:

  • Adults $10

  • Concession/tertiary $8

  • Secondary $5

  • Primary free

  • Family $25

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday and Public Holidays

    For more information on this exhibition, please visit the Bendigo Art Gallery website.

    Charles Nettleton, Ned Kelly the day before he was hanged 1880, silver gelatin print, State Library of Victoria
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    When: Open: Tuesday – Sunday and Public Holidays 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Phone: 03 5434 6088
    Where: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View St, Bendigo Victoria
    Cost: Adults $10, Concession/Tertiary $8, Secondary $5, Primary Free, Family $25
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