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The Archibald Exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW

Home > Sydney > Disabled Access | Exhibitions | Galleries | Indoor
by Sue Hinchey (subscribe)
A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me or
Event: -
The Archibald, art, sculpture, education and edification
Australia's most popular and well-known portraiture exhibition is currently showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney until 9 October 2016. It's a win-win event. Eagerly anticipated by the public and artists alike, it showcases the who's who of Australian culture, politics, celebrity-ship and sports heroes; plus it showcases the beautifully elegant 19th century building in Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney.

Art Gallery
Art Gallery of N.S.W.

In 1919 Jules Francois Archibald, the founding editor of The Bulletin newspaper, bequeathed funds to support artists and honour famous Australians. "Each year in accordance with his bequest resident Australian artists are invited to submit portraits from life of men and women preferentially distinguished in Arts, Letters, Science or Politics", says the Gallery's Trustees. And each year the standard and range of subjects grows.

This year's winner portrait is of Sir Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, painted by Louise Hearman.

Sir Barry Humphries

My personal favourite is of comedian Garry McDonald, aka Norman Gunston, painted by Kirsty Neilson, and titled 'There's No Humour in Darkness'. It's no secret to Australian audiences that Garry suffered from anxiety and depression, which led to a nervous breakdown. The depth of emotion and intense pain and sadness that Kirsty has been able to portray in the face of Garry is astounding.

Garry McDonald aka Norman Gunston

There are many subjects to view and vote for the People's Choice if you wish to.

archibald portraits
A variety of Archibald Portraits

But be sure to make the most of your visit to the Gallery. On Wednesdays from 5-10pm there are free events every week; a mixture of talks, performances, live music, food and film. Dine in the Café on Lower Level 1, open 10am - 4.30pm, which offers light meals and drinks, and offers a fabulous view north over the water and the naval base.

naval base
Naval Base

art gallery shop
Gallery Shop

Gallery Cafe
Cafe with north-facing windows

There are free guided tours daily and a Gallery shop to browse in to pick up some fabulous memorabilia. Plus, keep an eye out for free exhibitions; currently showing is 'Manifesto' - modern and contemporary art, showing until 13 November 2016 on Lower level 2, and 'Yuendumu: of fire and water', Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, showing until November 2016.

My other fave place to hang are the Grand Courts on the ground level. Exquisitely carved ceilings and grand entrances house some of the best 15th - 20th century European and 19th century art. Lose yourself in the gilded frames and Renaissance-style paintings of another era.

art gallery
Grand Courts

sculpture and art

Entrance to these areas is free but you will have to pay for some of the exhibitions, e.g. tickets to the Archibald are $18/adult, $16/concession, $44/family (2 adults and up to 3 children). Children under 5 are free. Meter Parking is available on Art Gallery Road, or in the Domain Underground Carpark, but both are quite expensive. If you don't mind a walk, catch the train to Central and walk across Hyde Park, or the Sydney Ferry to Circular Quay and walk up Macquarie Street and across the Botanic Gardens - and what a gorgeous way to finish the day!
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Why? Art, Sculpture and beautiful building
When: on now until 9 October 2016
Phone: 1800 679 278
Where: Art Gallery Rd, The Domain 2000 Sydney, Australia
Cost: $18/adult
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