Despite knowing little about Sidney Nolan, Andrew Turley was floored when he encountered Nolan’s Gorilla at a Sydney auction house in 2012. The painting of a screaming ape floating against African mountains gripped Turley, who had recently travelled through the continent. Soon Nolan’s African works became an obsession for Turley, who has written a yet-to-be-published book, Nolan’s Africa, for which he traced Nolan’s 1962 footsteps across Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
To complement the Sidney Nolan: Search For Paradise exhibition currently showing at the Heide Museum, Turley will present a talk on four of Nolan’s Africa paintings, in which he will draw on his deep and extensive research to reveal Nolan’s thematic and creative process at the time, complicated by Nolan’s trip to Auschwitz in 1961, an experience that affected him so greatly he refused to complete the works he was commissioned to paint.
Turley’s talk offers a rare glimpse into a little-discussed era of Nolan’s life and work, accompanying a landmark exhibition at Heide that traces the artist’s incredible body of work and his at times fraught relationship with Heide and its founders.
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