28 May - 7 August 2016

Free exhibition

BLACK WHITE & RESTIVE examines the artistic exchanges and at times uneasy tensions of cross-cultural art practice between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists. Celebrating the work of sixty-seven artists displayed over all floors of the gallery, exhibition curator Dr Una Rey has brought together a diversity of complex relationships from direct collaborations to shared, sometimes contested, stylistic and conceptual influences.

The exhibition begins with the creative exchange that occurred between Rex Battarbee (1893-1973) and Albert Namatjira (1902-1959) during the 1930s when they travelled to remote areas of Australia to paint. Namatijira's watercolours portraying his own Western Arrente country became extremely popular reinforcing romantic notions of the outback that resonated with the public at that time. Today these paintings and the resulting Hermannsburg watercolours are recognised as important and influential examples of early Indigenous modernist art.

Other significant contemporary works from 1990 to 2015 on loan for the exhibition include several large-scale collaborations in paint and multimedia from all corners of the continent. BLACK WHITE & RESTIVE is a far reaching exhibition not only geographically but also conceptually and includes thirty-four works from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection by artists Gordon Bennett, Tim Johnson, Ildiko Kovacs, Danie Mellor, Margaret Preston, Imants Tillers and Tony Tuckson as well as the Gallery’s significant holdings of Hermannsburg watercolours.

Guest curator: Dr Una Ray

Related Documents:

BLACK WHITE & RESTIVE Education Resource.

An extensive exhibition catalogue is available for purchase at the Gallery Shop.
This catalogue was the winner of the 2017 AAANZ Best Small Exhibition Catalogue Prize.

This project is supported by Arts NSW’s Curatorial Support Initiative grant, a devolved funding program administered by Museums & Galleries of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.


  • Guest curator - Una Ray

Exhibition Sponsors

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  • Exhibition entry FREE


Newcastle Art Gallery
1 Laman Street
Cooks Hill