Ink jet print on canson baryta
John Gollings, Ancient rock art, Nawarla Gabarnmang, Arnhem Land 2015 / 2019. Ink jet print on canson baryta

The Heide Museum of Modern Art is proud to present the work of John Gollings AM, one of Australia’s most prominent and acclaimed photographers, in a new exhibition titled, John Gollings: Spirit of Place on from the 23 March to 21 July 2019.

Exploring Gollings' long-standing interest in recording the landscape, particularly ancient sites of spiritual significance to First Peoples, the exhibition is a selection of spectacular photographs taken between 1967 and 2015. Gollings’ aim for the project is to raise public awareness of and respect for the sacredness of these places for Aboriginal people.

The exhibition features image from Nawarla Gabarnmang, a magnificent decorated rock shelter in remote Arnhem Land, traditionally owned by the Buyhmi clan of the Jawoyn Nation.

Described by some commentators as the Sistine Chapel of rock art, Nawarla Gabarnmang is an open-ended cave used as a dwelling or camping place for tens of thousands of years. Its ceiling is supported by naturally occurring and partly excavated sandstone pillars and is embellished with layer upon layer of painted imagery, ranging from hand stencils and abstract motifs to animals and spirit figures. Within its gallery, which tells the rich stories of the shelter’s inhabitants and their ancestors across the millennia, is one of the oldest known examples of rock art—a charcoal drawing dated to 26,000 BCE.

The exhibition also includes two monumental montages of symbolic paintings on Nourlangie Rock in Kakadu National Park, and a selection of poetic black and white photographs of landscapes around Victoria that Gollings took to illustrate Aldo Massola’s pioneering publication Bunjil’s Cave (1968).

The photographs in this exhibition have been created from the recently rediscovered negatives, which Gollings digitised and printed on an expanded scale to expressively convey the connection to country and age-old narratives that inspired them.

Don't miss out on John Gollings: Spirit of Place at Heide Museum of Modern Art and find more info on their website here!


Dates: 23 March – 21 July 2019

Location: 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen VIC 3105

Times: Tuesday - Sunday; 10am - 5pm

Cost: Included with Museum Pass. Concession; $15, Adult; $20, Heide Member; Free, Children (under 16 yrs); Free

Heide Modern Museum of Art Website