Australia @ RA


Australia. An island which many of us Brits believe to be an attractive holiday destination in the southern hemisphere. A land of beaches and eternal summers. This isn’t necessarily 100% true, though I have been myself multiple times, and I can’t say it isn’t a nice place. Australia also happens to be the place where my parents met and were married before moving to England to have me and my brother. It follows that much of my family still live on this illustrious island and that I have my own unique connection it. Thus in light of this, I couldn’t not visit the new Australia exhibition at the Royal Academy.

The exhibition itself is huge. It covers more than two centuries worth of art from that made by aborigines to contemporary practitioners today in 200 works. The show is almost purely made up of landscape images, a genre of which I cannot say I am particularly a fan of. However, the images do dispel the myth that Australia is all sandy beaches and outback.

The display of art is ambitious. There is so much to see that it is hard to take it all in. I often felt frustrated that such a large period of time was trying to be displayed in one exhibition, no matter how big, we are given a brief glimpse into certain happenings in Australian landscape art but never an in-depth exploration. The show certainly succeeds in opening our eyes to art which we are not used to seeing in London, however, it may not have been displayed in the best way.

Australia is on display at Royal Academy until 8 December

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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