Portraits from the Collection

23 May—15 September 2024

Portraits from the Collection

This is an exhibition of profiles, slanted light, shadowy forms and occasional smiles. Paintings by Polly Hurry, Arnold Shore, W D McInnes, Hugh Ramsay, Mary Cecil Allen, A M E Bale and May Vale, among many others, explore the play of light on skin and fabric. The 19th and 20th century works from the collection form a wall of painted ghosts. Traces of once-living subjects are caught in a moment of stillness. They are not relaxed, they are posed and composed, tense, cigarette in hand, faces taut with concentration.

The interest in light and composition is shared by photographers such as Randolph Buchner, Hugh Frankland and Richard Beck whose work features in a selection of black and white portraits of artists – from a brooding John Brack to Dorothy Braund, Olga Cohn and Danila Vassilieff.

Some portraits are not just of people. The living culture of the Jaara and Dja Dja Wurrung community is represented in the extraordinary series of photographs by James Henry from 2020/21. The project known as 18 Families shows the deep ongoing connection to country of the descendants of the eighteen known ancestors whose traditional lands include the Country around Castlemaine, Harcourt, Maldon and beyond.

Also included are photographs and cartoons from CAM’s Historical Museum Collection. These include members of the Brotherton, Glass and Chaster families, The Thompson Foundry Football Team, satirical works by George Thomas, and painted miniatures and ceramics.

Womindjika Woorineen willam bit
Willam Dja Dja Wurrung Balug
Wokuk mung gole-bo-turoi
talkoop mooroopook

Welcome to our homeland,
home of the Dja Dja Wurrung people
we offer you people good spirit.
Uncle Rick Nelson

The Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung are the Custodians of the land and waters on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. We extend these same sentiments to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations peoples.

Enter here