Young gallery visitors can journey into outback Australia, experiencing life under the Southern Cross when the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art opens its new exhibition for children in time for the school holidays.

Developed in close collaboration with one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, ‘Robert MacPherson: Swags and Swamp Rats’ will run from 27 June – 5 October 2015.

Robert MacPherson’s immense body of work is often informed by history, language and rural Australia. This new exhibition introduces young visitors to the ideas, places and people who have inspired MacPherson in an environment evocative of the Australian outback.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines CNZM said the new exhibition continues the Gallery’s longstanding tradition of working with Australian and international contemporary artists to create interactive installations and activities specifically for children and families.

‘The first of five interactive zones and activities in the exhibition, Learn the Lingo, invites children to discover the language used by drovers – the hardworking stockmen and women of outback Australia. Children are invited to create sentences, stories or poems using words printed on wooden blocks. Some of MacPherson’s favourite drover words are printed on double-sided blocks, with children able to turn them over to reveal the modern day equivalent,’ he said.

Visitors can also make their own drover character as part of the digital Drover Muster activity, using facial expressions and accessories from the artist’s 2400 Boss Drover drawings in 1000 FROG POEMS: 1000 BOSS DROVERS (“YELLOW LEAF FALLING”) FOR H.S. 1996-2014, an artwork by MacPherson recently gifted to the Gallery.

The artist’s interest in the Southern Cross star constellation is the inspiration behind the Under the Milky Way activity in which children can use acrylic rods to make their own constellation of stars and learn how stars were used by drovers as a navigation tool.

Before leaving the exhibition visitors can take a walk with drovers in the immersive Dawn ’til Dusk installation encountering different sounds of the outback.

‘Swags and Swamp Rats’ coincides with ‘Robert MacPherson: The Painter’s Reach’, QAGOMA’s major exhibition of work by the artist showing at the Gallery of Modern Art, 25 July – 1 18 October 2015. Curated by New York-based curator and writer Ingrid Periz, ‘The Painter’s Reach’ explores the entire creative of this conceptual artist whose practice has been a constant presence on the Australian art scene for almost forty years.


QAGOMA’s Children’s Art Centre reflects the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to providing innovative exhibitions, projects and publications for children and families. Through collaboration with artists, the Children’s Art Centre aims to engage children with contemporary cultures and enable them to experience the many ways artists approach their work.

Since 1998, QAGOMA has worked with more than 170 Australian and international contemporary artists to develop hands-on and multimedia activities that explore aspects of their artistic practice.

Providing broader community access to the Children’s Art Centre is a vital way for the Gallery to make meaningful connections with children and families. The Kids on Tour program provides Children’s Art Centre activities to communities throughout Queensland, and the award-winning publishing program of fun and engaging books for children provides further insight into the practices of contemporary artists, taking the Gallery experience into the home.

No comments yet.