CIMF 2018 Masthead

Eight exhibitions not to miss this summer

Alexa Sommerville

Air-conditioned, easily accessible and with attractions for all ages, summer is when our National Institutions really shine. 

This summer will be especially excellent with a stellar line up of blockbuster exhibitions ranging from sculpture to painting, photography and immersive installations across the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and the National Library of Australia.

All of these institutions are climate controlled, parent-friendly, have ample parking, are all abilities accessible and have cafe or food options.


Sam Jinks , Woman and child 2010 (detail), silicone, pigment, resin, silk, human hair. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.

Featuring uncannily real sculptures with painted silicon skin, glass eyes, human hair and cutting-edge digital art, Hyper Real amplifies humanity to provoke reflection, fascination, fear and joy. The eerily lifelike figures and out-of-this-world virtual reality chart the evolution of hyperrealism and chronicle the cycles of life. By exploring humanity’s constant need for connection, the exhibition asks: ‘what makes us human?’.

Major works are presented from early American pioneers George Segal and Duane Hanson, as well as from celebrated Australian artists Patricia Piccinini, Ron Mueck and Sam Jinks.

Adult $25 | Concession $22.50 | Children free

On until 18 February 2018 at National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place East, Parkes.

Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits


Michael Hutchence and Saskia Post in Dogs in Space. Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

One for all the movie-lovers, Starstruck is an exploration of 100 years of portraits from Australian cinema. Presented by the National Portrait Gallery and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, this exhibition goes behind the scenes of iconic and lesser-known films of the industry and showcase many a famous Australian actor.

Don’t miss the chance to see rare film posters, 1930s scrapbooks of aspiring actors, and original costumes from movies such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Many items will be available for the public to see for the very first time.

Adult $12 | Concession $10 | Children free

On until 4 March 2018 at National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes.

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters

Montage photographs by Sarah Kenderdine, Peter Morse and Paul Bourke. Seven Sisters rock art with permission of Walinynga (Cave Hill) custodians. Image supplied.

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters is an innovative Aboriginal-led exhibition that attempts to tell an Indigenous founding narrative using traditional ways of passing on knowledge.

Be immersed in the stories of the Seven Sisters songlines under a six metre, state-of-the-art dome, featuring artwork and animation and narration by Shellie Morris. Connect with them on an audio journey as they travel across the land. Experience an interactive remote rock art site, take in paintings, sculptures and other artworks by more than 100 artists from native lands of Australia’s Central and Western deserts, and go on an immersive virtual reality journey through Collisions.

Adult $15 | Concession $12 | Child $7 | Family $40, plus booking fees

On until 25 February 2018 at National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula.

Cartier: The Exhibition

Cartier London, Halo tiara 1934, platinum, round old- and baguette-cut diamonds, 4 cm (height). Collection Cartier © Cartier. Photo: Nils Herrmann. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.

See more than 300 items on loan from royal families, celebrities, aristocrats, socialites and the Cartier Collection itself, including royal tiaras, necklaces, brooches and earrings. This exhibition explores the jewellery maker’s glittering international clientele, including a selection of original sketches, portraits, historic photographs, film, advertising material, jewellery-making tools and equipment.

Highlights include Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Halo’ tiara, worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding to Prince William, Princess Grace of Monaco’s 10.48-carat diamond engagement ring, Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s diamond and ruby necklace, and a selection of the NGA’s Ballet Russes costumes.

Adult $27 | Concession $25 | Children free

On from 30 March 2018 – 22 July 2018 at National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place East, Parkes.

Behind The Lines 2017

Behind the Lines hero cartoon 2017 by David Rowe. Image courtesy of the Museum of Australian Democracy.

Marvel at this year’s best political cartoons, as showcased by The Three-Ring Circus. A tumultuous year, 2017 saw citizenship chaos, calls for constitutional reform and a postal plebiscite. Donald Trump, with his Twitter-happy fingers and outrageously quotable speeches, dominated front pages the world over. At home, the federal Budget invited all kinds of attention with its ‘good debt’/’bad debt’ consideration.

Take a look at how our nation’s political cartoonists reflected the political sideshows back on themselves to capture the spirit of democracy, in all its passion, skepticism and humour.

Free after museum admission. Adults $2 | Concession and children $1 | Family $5

On until 25 February at Museum of Australian Democracy, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes.

David Hockney: Prints 

Green pool with diving board and shadow 1978, hand-coloured and pressed coloured paper pulp. Purchased 1979 © David Hockney. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.

David Hockney: prints will explore the broad history of celebrated printmaker David Hockney through key works from the National Gallery of Australia’s own collection. Learn about Hockney’s printmaking practice and experiments over the decades, which have expanded the possibilities of the medium for young artists today.

Printmaking has been an integral part of Hockney’s art practice since 1954. His significant body of work is characterised by one obsessive focus replacing another. He has been influenced by and experimented with Naturalism, Pop Art and Cubism, and his lifelong admiration for Pablo Picasso can be seen in his work. 

Free entry. On until 27 May 2018 at National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place East, Parkes.  


Can’t decide whether to play inside or outside? Not a problem, every day this summer the Museum of Australian Democracy has their newly transformed PlayUp space open for families to explore and in January, their school holiday program will see the return of the popular Open Air PlayUp with activities in the Senate courtyard for pre-school and primary school-aged kids. 

Discover PlayUP – The Right to Have an Opinion and Be Heard, where kids can explore the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child in a playful way. Adults can even join in the fun too! From listening pods and a roleplay Kindness Café to a fuzzy felt wall and craft activities, PlayUP has a range of exciting and immersive experiences that flip the traditional idea of museums completely on its head.

PlayUP, Open daily from 9 am – 4 pm | More information:



Feature image: AES+F, Inverso mundus 2015, seven-channel HD video installation: 38:20 minutes, sound, colour. Courtesy the artists, MAMM, Anna Schwartz Gallery and Triumph Gallery. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia.


Alexa Sommerville

Canberra raised Alexa Sommerville has almost completed her Bachelor of Communication in Journalism degree. After five months on exchange in the UK, Alexa fell in love with solo travel and has mastered the art of daydreaming either about her next getaway or her next meal. She enjoys watching health documentaries, online shopping and old-school film photography, but not as much as she does annoying her mother by using every ingredient in the pantry to bake her latest healthy food obsession. Alexa hopes one day to be writing about traveling, or eating, or writing while she travels and eats. More about the Author

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