Ned Kelly Re-visited

When I was in Dunedin on Monday 21 May I paid a short visit to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and looked at part of the ‘World View’ exhibition. Starting with ‘Australia’ I found that Ned Kelly was featured in two of the paintings on display, both by Sidney Nolan (Australian painter, 1917 – 1992).

See the last part of this post for a link to a very interesting Ned Kelly painting that I found where he is reborn as a Knight of Malta, done by an Australian artist living in Malta!

I have previously shared with you photos of a Tapanui letterbox sculpture of Ned Kelly and there I included links to articles about his short life as an Australian bushranger and outlaw (and folk hero to many).

Photos below taken at Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Monday 21 May 2018


Riverbank   1964

** Click on the photo to enlarge **

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Ned Kelly   mid-20th Century

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There’s an interesting overview of Ned Kelly art at IronOutlaw.com that covers a number of artists (including Sidney Nolan). I was instantly drawn to the bold, bright painting right down the bottom of the page. The depiction of Ned Kelly is most unusual, as follows …

Ned Kelly reborn as a Knight of Malta

Here is a direct link to the larger-size image of this bold Ned Kelly painting. ‘Ned Kelly’ 30cm x 40cm Oil on canvas

The artist, Michael Wright, is an Australian who grew up in Sydney but now lives in Malta and chose to have Ned “reborn as a Knight of Malta, fighting for what he believed in.”

You can see more of Michael Wright’s work at his website leMakoo.com

I particularly enjoyed the photos from his 2011 exhibition Malta, an Australian Perspective where he contrasts Australian and Maltese landscape icons.


Text and Photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)

9 thoughts on “Ned Kelly Re-visited

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  1. Ned Kelly Re-visited…he has totally captivated me since your first post! I am waiting for the copy of Max Brown’s book “Australian Son : The Story of Ned Kelly” to be delivered…can’t wait to read it! Sidney Nolan’s paintings are not to my liking, modernist painting is not my cup of tea. I love the Patrick Marony paintings. Thank-you!

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    1. Thanks Ellen, let me know what you think of the book when you’ve read it! Sidney Nolan has done a lot of different paintings and on the whole they’re not to my taste either but there are some that I like! What interests me, and surprised me, is that there’s a lot of art works around that reference Ned Kelly, a young criminal hung in 1880! I never realised that, until doing a little searching after finding these paintings – so I’ve become quite interested in his story and the impact that’s had on Australian society and culture.

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  2. I’ve never been very keen on Sidney Nolan’s paintings, but the one you have shown really does capture the dry brittleness of the Australian landscape. Of the Ned Kelly art, I like the Chris Wake paintings down near the bottom of the page.

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    1. Thanks Jane. The Chris Wake paintings are excellent. And quite creepy as far as the police are concerned – I suspect the police created a lot of the trouble themselves. There seemed to be a lot of support from ordinary people for Ned.

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    1. Remember Ned was only in his mid-20s when he was hung in Nov 1880. He and his gang must have looked pretty scary to the police with their ‘letterbox’ helmets and upper armour, particularly in the context of wild Australia – which still is an alien and scary environment and would have been more so back then!

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