Kangaroo Unbound: Garry Shead & Luke Johnson

National Exhibition Register

  • Creation
    Garry Shead Creation, 1994
    Etching, aquatint
    24.5 cm x 32 cm
    Image Credit
    Aaron Burton

About the exhibition

Kangaroo Unbound is a poetry-art exhibition, featuring more than 20 paintings, etchings and collagraphs from Garry's Shead's iconic D.H. Lawrence series, as well as poems written in response to those works by Wollongong writer and academic Luke Johnson.

To take it back to its true roots, the project began more than 100 years ago with the publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo, a novel he wrote during his famed 1922 voyage to the Illawarra with wife Frieda. This novel served as the inspiration behind the series of 50 paintings produced by Shead in the 1990s, which esteemed art historian and critic Sasha Grishin (AM FAHA) has likened to Arthur Boyd’s ‘Bride’ series and Sidney Nolan’s ‘Ned Kelly’ series in its convincing creation of a ‘new Australian myth’ (Grishin 2001). Undoubtedly, it was this series that consolidated Shead’s national and international reputation as a major Australian artist.

Skip forward to 2017, when an invitation from Wollongong Art Gallery led to Luke Johnson commencing work on a collection of ekphrastic poems based on the complete ‘D.H. Lawrence’ series of paintings. While several of the poems have since been published as standalone works in literary journals and read aloud alongside the paintings in situ at various exhibitions, the Kangaroo Unbound exhibition brings the poems into direct contact with the works that inspired them. Under the curatorial guidance of prize-winning artist Teo Treloar, the poems have been prepared for presentation in the gallery setting, offering a somewhat novel alternative to traditional models of publication while also giving a lovely circularity to an artistic project with long literary origins.

The exhibition is available free of charge. However, exhibiting galleries must cover freight and insurance costs.

Artists and Curator

Luke Johnson & Teo Treloar

Garry Shead & Luke Johnson

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/06/2024 - 01/06/2027
Exhibition size
Under 50 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
University of Wollongong
$0 (exc. freight)
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Installation Support Available, Media Kit
Other materials
Process prints, early edition books, etching plates, documentary film made by Shead, public lecture on Lawrence's time in Thirroul, draft poems, and archival newspaper prints.
Primary contact
Luke Johnson
Senior Lecturer
University of Wollongong
Secondary contact
Teo Treloar
University of Wollongong