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Presence and Absence

Portrait Sculpture in Australia

Friday 22 August until Sunday 16 November 2003

This exhibition focuses on exploring national and communal identity through sculptural production in Australia, from the early decades of settlement through to the present day. The scope of the exhibition is wide and reflects two aims.

Decorative portrait – Len Lye, c.1925 by Rayner Hoff (1894-1937)
Decorative portrait – Len Lye, c.1925 by Rayner Hoff (1894-1937)

Firstly to particularise certain specific moments in Australian history, including the shaping of Aboriginal-white contact in the 19th century and the construction of national identity through the mythologies of the bushman and the ANZAC. And secondly to focus on sculpture’s historical association with the service of death, especially through its emphasis on the function of commemoration.