NLA exhibitions for summer


The Sell: Australian Advertising 1790s–1990s

If you are interested in advertising, in posters, in the changing nature of our culture, in a fabulous collection of artifacts and all manner of ephemera– then get yourself along to the National Library of Australia this summer. It is a free exhibition–so there are no excuses.

The NLA has done a great job of bringing out items from their collection to share with us (that’s you and me) a colourful overview of the development of advertising– that is really about how culture and values have developed and changed within Australia.

Some of the items present a few surprises and in several cases remind you what we used to value and how we were not always so good in how we portrayed certain sectors within our society. There are also novelties such as information on how to dress to fly and what to take – and advertising about those wonderful Australian made cars (all gone very soon!).





For me a great thing about this exhibition is that the curators have used actual objects (posters etc) and not fallen for that often used museum mistake of using blow-ups or new graphical representations of messages to over-exaggerate the point. These original and mostly very colourful artifacts speak for themselves – and they say heaps.

This is a totally recommended exhibition. Again it is free (parking is free on the weekends).

The National Library of Australia, till 25th April 2017, open 10am – 5pm.


And there’s more – next door to the above is another gem of an exhibition:

Athol Shmith Fashion Photographs


Athol Shmith is well known in photographic circles and in the fashion world as one of Australia’s leading fashion, theatre, advertising and portrait photographers.

The NLA has again brought out photographs from its own collections and has presented a medium size exhibition of stunning fashion photographs. This exhibition is a timely and well thought out partner exhibition to the above (The Sell).


This set of photographs are a time piece as they remind us of the nature of the high fashions of the period. And for those who enjoy the wonders of the medium, the collection hits you in the face as to the power of black and white photography in the hands of a talented artist such as Athol Shmith.

Here’s another notice of this exhibition in the Canberra Times.

Totally recommended, till 16th July 2017, open 10am – 5pm.

Both exhibitions will provide you with the excuse to get out of the house during summer, spend a hour or so with the exhibitions and then chat about them over coffee in the NLA’s revamped café.

Got relatives in the house over Christmas/New Year?  The NLA exhibitions will be just the thing for them (again – they are free).

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