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Whitlams’ iconic Australian art collection revealed for the first time

A new exhibition featuring the first public display of a unique collection of artworks, gifted to Gough and Margaret Whitlam in 1979, has been unveiled at the Whitlam Institute, at Western Sydney University.

DEDICATED to the DEDICATED: Whitlam, the Arts and Democracy, includes works by John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, Lloyd Rees, John Coburn, Arthur Boyd and more, and is inscribed with a message of thanks to Gough and Margaret Whitlam for ‘the marks they have made on the Australian canvas’.

Whitlam Institute Director, Leanne Smith, said “Whitlam’s belief in a more confident and independent cultural identity for Australia is as relevant as ever. This Australian-first exhibition underscores why a thriving artistic community is important for a healthy democracy.”

The new exhibition also documents how Gough Whitlam viewed the arts as a fundamental human right and a precondition for a healthy democracy. In his words, “A society in which the arts flourish is a society in which every human value can flourish”.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said “The Whitlams’ Folio is one of around 37,000 items in the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection, which is unsurpassed by any other in Australia.

“We are looking forward to sharing it with the community through this important new exhibition, which offers a superb insight into the legacy of the Whitlam Government.”

The exhibition is part of Western Sydney University’s 30th anniversary celebrations, and will be open to the public from 7 June 2019 until 26 July 2019 in the Whitlam Institute’s Margaret Whitlam Galleries.

Source: Western Sydney University

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