Museum of Brisbane

David Malouf and friends

  • 16 May 2014 — 26 Jan 2015
  • Exhibition now closed

Brisbane-born David Malouf is one of Australia’s finest authors of contemporary literature. Celebrating his 80th birthday this year, his works are considered classics throughout the world and span novels, poetry, libretti, short stories and a play.

David Malouf and friends

Among the most loved of Malouf’s works are those set in his hometown of Brisbane including his first novel Johnno and the semi-autobiographical 12 Edmonstone Street. One of the first to truly articulate Brisbane’s identity through his poetry and novels, Malouf’s writing vividly evokes the feeling of the city and its suburbs with its shady verandahs, summer storms and sticky heat. His work marks the emergence of Brisbane as a subject for artistic inspiration, influencing countless artists across all art forms to embrace their Queensland identity and explore Brisbane as a muse.

In David Malouf and friends five contemporary artists pay homage to Malouf by creating new artworks inspired by his writing.

Showcasing the broad and timeless themes of his work, the artists explore the familiar layers of his writing – from childhood memories to the crossover of European traditions and the Australian dream. In turn Malouf will respond to the artist’s creations in writing featured in the exhibition.

Visitors to David Malouf and friends will discover the work and life story of Brisbane’s greatest literary icon and the influence of his lasting voice that will resonate for generations to come. With a substantial program of accompanying events, including appearances from David Malouf himself, the exhibition promises to be a truly fitting celebration.

Exhibition curated by Peter Denham and guest curator Renai Grace.


Anna Carey

Anna Carey is a visual artist who lives and works on the Gold Coast. Fascinated by the city’s playful sundrenched suburbs, Anna creates art that evokes nostalgic scenes from Australian suburbia. She handcrafts small architectural models of everyday houses, apartment blocks and buildings, and photographs them to create beautiful photographic prints. Her models are meticulously created, focusing on the smallest details of the prosaic suburban abodes.

A graduate from Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Anna has a Bachelor of Digital Media, majoring in Fine Art and Art Theory, with First Class Honours. She has exhibited extensively in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and was a finalist in both the 2011 Churchie national emerging art prize and the Queensland Regional Art Awards.

Costa Vista

Costa Vista 2014, giclée print mounted on aluminium

Karla Marchesi

Brisbane-born painter Karla Marchesi is an internationally recognised artist who currently lives and works in Berlin. Her practice explores relationships forged with domestic objects and spaces, and how the aesthetic depiction of these establishes subliminal connections to past places, rituals and memories.

Karla studied at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University (QCA) where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art with First Class Honours, and was awarded the University Medal and the Honours Thesis Prize. While at QCA, she received the Philip Bacon Galleries Prize for Excellence in Drawing and studied for a semester at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the United States of America. She has received several other high profile awards and grants throughout her career, including an Australia Council for the Arts New Work – Early Career Grant (2013), the inaugural Wilson Visual Arts Award (2012), and first prize in the Redland Art Awards (2010).

Following graduation, in 2012, she undertook a studio residency at Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, and later made her international solo debut at Kunsthalle M3 – both in Berlin. Karla has since participated in a number of international group exhibitions, while also exhibiting in solo and group shows in Australia.

In Australia, her work is featured in a number of public collections including the University of Queensland, Redcliff City Art Gallery and Pine Rivers Art Gallery, and she is represented by Heiser Gallery in Brisbane and Beam Contemporary in Melbourne.

KMarchesi_Number32_2014 Photo Laura Jung

Number 32 2014, oil on composite board panels

Karla describes her family’s property which is the basis for the above painting, “…the point more particularly is how idiosyncratic the front garden of our family home is – literally embedded with the history of my family and that of the neighbourhood – being one of the first houses built on the street some 46 years ago (and retaining the same occupants). It’ll be an anthropologists and archaeologists dream to dig up our old bikes, high-chairs and other domestic curiosities buried and used to fashion retaining walls, structures and pathways, as well as various portraits carved into well-established tree-trunks surrounding the dwelling.”


Noel McKenna

Noel McKenna is a Brisbane-born artist who has been exhibiting since the early 1980s. Now based in Sydney, Noel began his career studying architecture at the University of Queensland, before pursuing his interest in the visual arts at Brisbane College of Art and Alexander Mackie College in Sydney.

Working across a number of mediums, spanning watercolour and oil painting to etchings, Noel is best known for his paintings and explores a range of idiosyncratic Australian imagery in his practice. He exhibits internationally on a regular basis and has had successful solo shows in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and Hong Kong.

A regular finalist in the Wynne and Sulman Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Noel won the Sulman in 1994. He is also the recipient of the Muswellbrook Art Prize, Muswellbrook Regional Gallery (1995); Trustees’ Watercolour Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales (1997, 1999, 2001, and 2002); Melbourne Savage Club Art Prize for Painting, Melbourne (2001); and the Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery (2003).

Noel is represented by Niagara Galleries in Melbourne, which have shown his work since 1985, Greenaway Art Gallery in Adelaide, Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney and Heiser Gallery in Brisbane.

Noel McKenna the condamine small

The Condamine 2014, enamel on glass

Bruce Reynolds

Born and raised in Canberra, Bruce Reynolds is a Brisbane-based artist with a career spanning more than 30 years in Australia and abroad. With qualifications from the reputed Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Bruce lived in Germany for a year, before moving to Brisbane.

Although trained as a painter, he works across 2D and 3D media, and integrates methods of photography, painting, sculpture and relief in his practice. He has also worked on an architectural scale, contributing to public art to Brisbane and is currently creating a public art project for Singapore.

In 2013, Bruce travelled to Bangladesh, China and Italy to further his practice funded by the Australia Council and Arts Queensland. He exhibits regularly at Brisbane’s Ryan Renshaw Gallery and teaches at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

B_Reynolds__01 Photo Carl Warner -cropped

Bulimba Hydria 2014, lino and paint on wood panel


Camille Serisier

Camille Serisier is a Brisbane-based, award-winning interdisciplinary artist. Born in Wollongong, she received a Bachelor of Fine Art with First Class Honours from Australian National University and has received several high profile grants and prizes, including the Neil Roberts Award, the NAVA Australian Artists’ Grant and the Arts Queensland Career Development Grant.

Through her practice, Camille investigates the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Informed by eco-feminist theories of critique, Camille explores ideas of narrative construction and interpretation, and uses Australian culture to create surreal and fantastic artworks.

In 2001, she received the Vera List Scholarship for a semester of study in New York City. She has also trained as a scenic painter at Scenic Studios in Melbourne and Opera Australia in Sydney. Camille has also been an artist-in-residence in Canterbury, Bundanon and Laughing Waters.


Model for Swan Song #7 2014, pencil/graphite, balsa card, paper, watercolour

David Malouf, Author

David Malouf is one of Australia’s most renowned writers. Born in Brisbane in 1934, David is of Lebanese, Spanish and English descent. He grew up in South Brisbane, the setting of his now famous memoir 12 Edmondstone Street, and was educated at Brisbane Grammar School before receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland. At 24, David left Australia to live in England where he taught in London and Birkenhead.

In 1968, David returned to Australia and settled in Sydney, where he worked as senior tutor and, later, lecturer in English at the University of Sydney until 1977 when he retired to become a full-time writer. Initially, he split his time between living and writing in Tuscany and Sydney, but since 1985 has resided in Sydney.

Originally interested in poetry, David was first published by Australian literary journal Meanjin in 1960. He turned his attention to fiction in 1975 with his first novel Johnno. Over the course of his career, David has published nine novels, eight anthologies of poetry, five collections of short stories, five non-fiction books, several highly regarded essays, one play and an operatic libretto. His writing is distinguished by his use of concrete detail and arresting images, together with his preoccupation with such themes as history, memory and language.

David has been recognised for his contribution to literature with numerous prizes, awards and honours in Australia and abroad. In 1987, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and, in 1989 was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has received several international accolades including the Commonwealth Writers prize – South East Asia and South Pacific for The Great World (1991) and Remembering Babylon (1994), the Prix Femina Étranger for The Great World (1991), International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award – one of the highest paid literary prizes in the world – for Remembering Babylon (1996) and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (2000). He was also shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for Remembering Babylon (1993) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in England.

Considered one of Australia’s most highly regarded writers, David received a Doctor of Letters from the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney. In 2014, David released Earth Hour, an anthology of poetry and A First Place, a collection of essays and personal writings in celebration of his 80th birthday.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring the artists and Brisbane writers Matthew Condon, Trent Dalton, Ellen van Neerven, Kristina Olsson and Nathan Shepherdson, plus a new ‘collage of Brisbane’ by David Malouf.

Available to purchase from Museum of Brisbane reception. Presented in partnership with Brisbane Writers Festival.

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The David Malouf and friends program of events is presented in partnership with Brisbane Writers Festival.