10 Aug 2024—23 Feb 2025

Nolan: For the Term of His Natural Life

Opening soon
Nolan: For the Term of His Natural Life

Image: Prisoners and Warders, 1978, Sidney Nolan

Opening soon

In August 1978, Sidney Nolan created a series of 31 crayon pastel drawings based on the events of Marcus Clarke’s 1874 convict novel, For the Term of His Natural Life.

This group of works, possibly created for a large format publication of Clarke’s novel, was another opportunity for Nolan to explore the human condition against the backdrop of Australian history – a subject which had permeated his oeuvre since he painted the Ned Kelly series 30 years earlier. The rough, sometimes child-like drawings in Nolan’s Natural Life series evocatively captured the brutality faced by the convicts in Clarke’s novel. His sympathetic portrayal of convicts was at times at odds with the views of his contemporaries, reflecting a complex emotional state informed by personal upheavals and a deep concern about the human toll of twentieth century conflicts.

For the first time in over 20 years, all 31 works in the series will be shown at Canberra Museum and Gallery.

Visitors are advised that this exhibition contains adult themes

Tags

Nolan
Nolan: For the Term of His Natural Life

Image: Prisoners and Warders, 1978, Sidney Nolan

Tags

Nolan