Anna Glynn’s Swan Song set to stun at Biennale of Australian Art

Shoalhaven artist Anna Glynn working on her artwork 'Swan Song'.
Shoalhaven artist Anna Glynn working on her artwork 'Swan Song'.

Award-winning Shoalhaven artist Anna Glynn will represent NSW at the inaugural Biennale of Australian Art 2018 (BOAA).

The festival is a visual art showcase, featuring more than 150 of the country’s most innovative contemporary artists. 

BOAA will tell Australian stories of past, present and future and reflect on what it means to be Australian in the current climate. 

A celebration of multiculturalism, the exhibition will have a strong Aboriginal focus and connection. 

Anna travelled to Ballarat earlier this year, on what she called “a pilgrimage to a childhood memory.”

“[I] remember as a little girl visiting my relatives and spending hours in the Botanical Gardens admiring the flowers and birds whilst holding my mother’s hand,” she said.

Her Ballarat family dates back to the miners in the mid-1800s with four great grandparents, two grandparents, aunties, uncles and many memories and stories long forgotten.

“While at Ballarat, I spent intensive time researching the archival and art collections of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the Gold Museum and Ballarat Libraries,” Anna said. 

“The Friends of the Botanical Gardens shared their archives where I happened upon a reference to a swan census.”

A closer look at Anna's work, 'Swan Song'.

A closer look at Anna's work, 'Swan Song'.

This led to more research into the history of the swans in Ballarat and a rich archive of correspondence and newspaper articles to draw upon for inspiration.

The result was a major new 10 metre long chiffon installation work titled ‘Swan Song’. A photo-montage reflecting on the relationship between man and nature and the story of our human endeavours to transform the Australian landscape and nature through a European aesthetic.

The white swan and the black swan are characters in this tableau, a narrative for the audience to ponder and reflect upon.

Anna has also created a ‘Swan Saga’ wallpaper which includes quoted Ballarat ‘swan’ material spanning 1883 to 1961.

These works will be on show at the Eureka Village Precinct - George Farmer Building.

Anna will also be showing a suite of moving image works in BOAA Dark throughout the festival, including a number of award-winning video works.

One of them, Antipodean Nocturne | Extinction, is currently a finalist in the Heysen Prize for Landscape.

Anna said she grateful to everyone who assisted in the creation of her work. 

“Thank you to everyone in Ballarat who made me so welcome and shared their resources and collections to allow me to explore these wonderful archives of material,” she said.