Culture

Exhibition showcases Australia’s unfolding drama of love, lust, law and marriage - blog post image

Exhibition showcases Australia’s unfolding drama of love, lust, law and marriage

From 30 March – 16 June, exploreMarriage: Love + Law’ – A NSW State Archives exhibition exploring the beliefs, social attitudes and laws that have shaped marriage in Australia across three centuries at Penrith Regional Gallery in Emu Plains.

Marriage: Love + Law displays rare letters, Acts of Parliament, convict records, court documents, photographs, films, plans and reports from the State Archives Collection that unravel how marriage has been regulated, celebrated, challenged and rejected over time.

Conceived and produced by State Archives team, the exhibition includes newly-commissioned works by leading artists. Additional works by living and past artists add further diversity, texture and life to the exhibition’s multi-layered narrative.

NSW State Archives Senior Exhibitions Curator Dr Penny Stannard said combining diverse elements in the exhibition conveyed a far deeper and more nuanced evolving story of marriage in Australia.

“Writers Tara Moss, Kiera Lindsey and Judith MacCallum have invested great thought and insight in the exhibition catalogue. Commissioned works by Danie Mellor, Blak Douglas, Raquel Ormella and Freya Jobbins offer highly-personal interpretations of the meaning and history of marriage. And we have included works by William Yang, Abdul Abdulla, Jeffrey Samuels and others to again deepen the layered narrative.”

Pic: Abdul Abdullah, Bride 1 (Victoria), 2015, c-type print. Courtesy of the artist.

With images filling an entire wall, a ‘wedding album’ unfolds 140 years of marriage ceremonies and celebrations to express our transformative journey as a society. Highlights from the exhibition, which runs until 16 June 2019, can be viewed on the State Archives web site. https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/exhibitions/marriage-love-and-law.

Penrith Regional Gallery Director Sheona White said hosting the exhibition was the first partnership undertaken by the Gallery with NSW State Archives and it would be the first of many more.

“It’s exciting to launch such an ambitious exhibition, particularly one exploring a theme central to the lives of so many,” Ms White said.

“Stories resurrected from old documents, images and letters; alongside deeply personal creative works will move, engage and inspire visitors, as they traverse time, place and politics.”

Pics: (left) Raquel Ormella, Always the bridesmaid, 2019. Second hand bridesmaid dresses from late 60s to present. Couresty of the artist and Milani Gallery. (Right) W. Nicholas, Hannah Tompson, 1839, watercolour. Courtesy of State Library of New South Wales.

NSW State Archives Executive Director Adam Lindsay said sharing the Collection connects the experiences people are having today with the unfolding events of history.

“Our exhibitions, that regularly tour regional centres, have explored unfolding Australian social narratives relating to times of war, the underrepresentation of women in the public sphere and in leadership, of crime, and even our relationship with and dependence on domestic technologies,” Mr Lindsay said.

“Marriage: Love + Law is the latest and one of our most ambitious exhibitions to date. It enables NSW audiences to experience and connect with the richness and importance of the NSW State Archives Collection.


Marriage: Love + Law

Penrith Regional Gallery (Emu Plains)

30 March – 16 June 2019

Main Pic: Fiona Hall, 'The Marriage of the Arnolfini', after Jan Van Eyck, 1980, type C photograph. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley.

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