In March 1977, Newcastle Art Gallery officially opened in its current building, having migrated from the War Memorial Cultural Centre next door. Later that same year, the Gallery presented the exhibition Ghost who walks can never die
, a celebration of pop art inspired by the long running Phantom
This month, 40 years later - 'the Ghost who walks' returns to Newcastle in THE PHANTOM SHOW
to help celebrate the anniversary of the building - the first purpose built contemporary regional Art Gallery in Australia.
Curated by local artist Dietmar Lederwasch and Sydney-based artist Peter Kingston, the exhibition is on at Newcastle Art Gallery from 10 June to 20 August 2017, with a special community opening event on Friday 9 June from 5.30pm.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes invites everyone to come to the opening event, which is free for all Gallery visitors and will include a drumming performance by Earthen Rhythms African Drum & Dance.
"THE PHANTOM SHOW
is such a vibrant, fun exhibition and we invite the community to enjoy the official opening, see the exhibition, and help us celebrate the building's 40th
anniversary," said Cr Nelmes.
The Newcastle exhibition will be special because 14 Novocastrian artists have produced new works of art just for this show: Michael Bell, Dallas Bray, Chris Capper, Dino Consalvo, James Drinkwater, Ron Hartree, Aleta Lederwasch, Dietmar Lederwasch, Claire Martin, John Morris, Lezlie Tilley, Peter Tilley, John Turier and Graham Wilson.
The Newcastle show will also include a range of Phantom memorabilia and ephemera - including a hand typed script with drawings and notes in the margins from original artist Lee Faulk.
"It's quite exhilarating to bring this exhibition to Newcastle - my home town," said co-curator Dietmar Lederwasch. "The development of this show has certainly been a labour of love for both Peter and I, because of our long history with the Phantom character, but bringing it here is particularly special to me."
The exhibition boasts the largest array of artists ever gathered to celebrate the art of the Phantom, with works included from more than 50 artists, most of them Australian.
"I'm thrilled to be working with so many Novocastrian artists and adding their new works into this already amazing exhibition," said Lederwasch. "Anyone who has enjoyed the Phantom and his many incarnations over the years will have a great time at this exhibition."
As a character the Phantom began in 1936 as a daily newspaper comic strip and is still running to this day in over 500 newspapers internationally. The comics tell the story of a costumed crime fighter who lives in the ancient Skull Cave in the fictional African country of Bangalla.
Unlike many comic strip heroes the Phantom relies on his strength, intelligence, humour and reputed immortality to defeat his enemies. Perhaps for this reason, more than any other superhero, the Phantom continues to be a source of creative and artistic inspiration for many Australian artists more than 80 years after he was first imagined.
Euan MacLeod 'Father of the first Phantom' 2014 oil on canvas 180.0cm x 130.0cm Courtesy the artist Dietmar Lederwasch collection
More info on the opening event
More info on the exhibition