NMA’s A Portrait of Australia: Stories

In 2013, Canberra’s own Summernats created an official Guinness World Record when 69 cars performed simultaneous burnouts. Photo: Thomas Wielecki.

Ian Bushnell, Iconic photos provide a portrait of Australia at the National Museum, RiotAct, 12 December 2020

A new photographic exhibition at the National Museum of Australia brings the country’s diverse and spectacular sights to the national capital this summer.

The exhibition of 56 iconic photographs and stories from the outback, bush and coast is part of an unprecedented partnership between Australian Geographic and the museum.

The museum says A Portrait of Australia: Stories Through the Lens of Australian Geographic features a stunning display of large-format photographic prints, and brings together the expertise of Australian Geographic’s acclaimed photographers and the National Museum of Australia’s interpretive storytelling.

The photographs have been drawn from the book, A Portrait of Australia, which was produced to celebrate 30 years of Australian Geographic magazine.

The travelling exhibition opened in Toowoomba, Queensland, in August 2019, and will continue its successful tour across Australia during 2021, showing concurrently at multiple venues.

National Museum of Australia assistant director, public engagement, Mark Goggin said the show has been a marvellous opportunity to take Australian stories to venues around the country by combining the National Museum’s exhibition and curatorial expertise with Australian Geographic’s 30 years of unparalleled photographic coverage of Australia’s land, nature and people.

“We are delighted to share it with our visitors for the first time,” he said. “Visitors from Canberra and the region can experience different parts of the country, which may not be accessible due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.”

Lajamanu girl Carol Green Napangardi has her face painted with her local footy team’s colours as she cheers them on at Lajamanu in the Northern Territory. Photo: Bill Bachman.

Australian Geographic editor-in-chief Chrissie Goldrick said the exhibition is beautifully presented and transforms the words and pictures into a truly immersive experience.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the National Museum of Australia,” she said. “Both organisations strive to tell authentic Australian stories using the very finest storytelling methods, whether it be words, images or objects.”

The exhibition celebrates the bush, the outback, the coast and the people who live and work there.

Featuring photographs from the Australian Geographic archive, it will transport visitors to some of the most rugged and remote parts of the country, where they can discover the remarkable stories of ordinary Australians.

The exhibition will be on display at the National Museum of Australia until 8 March 2021.

Venues across the country can select from a collection of about 60 photographs to tell their regional stories and the stories of the nation.

The museum says there has been strong interest from metropolitan and regional centres across Australia.