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May 14, 2021

Tweed gallery celebrates vision of the Darlings

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Ivan Durrant, Johnny O’Keefe ‘A little bit louder now…’, 1999, synthetic polymer on board. Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Commissioned with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 1999.
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A collection from the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra showcasing iconic portraits of Australians will be on display together for the first time outside the capital, from Monday (14 March) at the Tweed Regional Gallery.

The exhibition, Uncommon Australians: The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling, pays tribute to the vision of the late Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC, for a national portrait gallery dedicated to men and women who have shaped Australia.

The Tweed gallery gave the following background to the collection and exhibition:

‘In the late 1980s, on the day they decided to spend the rest of their lives together, Gordon and Marilyn Darling agreed to pursue a project: the creation of a place that would testify, through portraits, to the ingenuity, intelligence, inquisitiveness and perseverance of individuals who had made a lasting difference to Australia.

In the early 1990s they expressed their vision with an exhibition of portraits they called Uncommon Australians.

Over years, their combination of idealism, practical support and persuasive lobbying for an Australian National Portrait Gallery played a crucial part in bringing the institution into being.

Now, the gallery’s collection resides in a superb building, its spaces abounding with portraits the Darlings and subsequent benefactors have funded.

Uncommon Australians: The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling reveals the gallery’s founding patrons as uncommon Australians of the kind they set out to celebrate from the very beginning.

The exhibition showcases iconic portraits of Australians such as Mick Dodson, Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarkson (Sass & Bide), Johnny O’Keefe and Sir Donald Bradman, on display together for the first time outside of the portrait gallery in Canberra.’

Tweed Regional Gallery director Susi Muddiman said ‘the works in the exhibition are some of the most iconic in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection’.

 

Montalbetti+Campbell, Andy Thomas (detail), 2002, type C photograph on polyester-based paper. Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Commissioned with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2002
Montalbetti+Campbell, Andy Thomas (detail), 2002, type C photograph on polyester-based paper. Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Commissioned with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2002

‘These portraits were integral to the development of the well-rounded, unique collection housed in Canberra today, depicting Australian men and women who have made a difference to the history and culture of this nation,’ Ms Muddiman said.

The exhibition, at the gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, end on 1 May.

It is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

 

 


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