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DANCER | 24 February - 14 April 2024

Published on Thursday, 4 January 2024 at 10:18:03 AM

Beau Dean Riley Smith, Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay nations, Bennelong, 2017
Beau Dean Riley Smith, Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay nations, Bennelong, 2017 (detail) from the series 'Space in between', Jacob Nash, Day River, inkjet print on paper © Jacob Nash

A National Portrait Gallery touring exhibition.

24 February - 14 April 2024

OPENING NIGHT: 6pm- 8pm, 23 February 2024

VENUE: Geraldton Regional Art Gallery


From letting loose in the lounge room to enthralling audiences on stage, this exhibition captures the experience of lives lived through dance. Drawn from the National Portrait Gallery collection and incorporating the work of contemporary photographers, Dancer reflects the freedom and joy of dance and its power to connect.

Dance has always been a vital expression of culture and storytelling. For First Nations peoples it is part of an ongoing connection to, and responsibility for, Country; woven into songs, ceremony and story. While many of the works in Dancer elaborate on this connection, other histories are also mapped. In the early decades of the 20th century, European performers and touring companies encouraged new generations of homegrown talent. Founded in 1962, The Australian Ballet brought to the stage classical and contemporary ballets, and in 1989 Bangarra Dance Theatre emerged as Australia’s premier First Nations dance company. Through image and word, this exhibition shows how dance unites across shared experiences, cultural knowledge and teaching.

The exhibition features 52 works including works from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of dance legends Irina Baronova, Robert Helpmann, Hélène Kirsova, Graeme Murphy, Gideon Obarzanek, Anna Pavlova, Marilyn Rowe and Janet Vernon.

National Portrait Gallery Curator Dr Emma Kindred said “The joy of dance and movement is a shared experience that transcends cultures and generations. Much like portraiture, dance is an artform that has the power to connect, teach and tell diverse stories. I am excited that audiences across the country will have the opportunity to explore this exhibition."

Image credit: Exhibiting Artist Liz Looker and her family at the DANCER Opening Night, 2024, Mullermind Creative

Image credit: DANCER Opening Night, 2024, Mullermind Creative

Image credit: 'Graeme Murphy AM' by Lewis Morley, DANCER Opening Night, 2024, Mullermind Creative

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