News Stories

Marriage: Love and Law

Source: Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest
Posted: 16 Mar 2019
Exhibition showcases Australia’s unfolding drama of love, lust, law and marriage, from 30 March to 16 June 2019.

A NSW State Archives exhibition exploring beliefs, social attitudes and laws that have shaped marriage in Australia over three centuries opens at Penrith Regional Gallery in Emu Plains on 30 March.

Marriage: Love + Law displays rare letters, Acts of Parliament, convict records, court documents, photographs, films, plans and reports from the State Archives Collection that unravel how marriage has been regulated, celebrated, challenged and rejected over time.

Conceived and produced by State Archives team, the exhibition includes newly-commissioned works by leading artists. Additional works by living and past artists add further diversity, texture and life to the exhibition’s multi-layered narrative.

NSW State Archives Senior Exhibitions Curator Dr Penny Stannard said combining diverse elements in the exhibition conveyed a far deeper and more nuanced evolving story of marriage in Australia.

“We cover a broad sweep of history in which many forces have influenced our social, emotional and legal connections with marriage,” Dr Stannard said. “The exhibition encompasses Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s first State intervention in 1810 up to Australia’s recent implementation of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017.

“Intriguing archival material, richly-varied artworks, a story-laden catalogue and a performance of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s 1810 proclamation on marriage by opera singer Simon Lobelson unite to help visitors meaningfully connect with this tale of marriage, love and law.

“Writers Tara Moss, Kiera Lindsey and Judith MacCallum have invested great thought and insight in the exhibition catalogue. Commissioned works by Danie Mellor, Blak Douglas, Raquel Ormella and Freya Jobbins offer highly-personal interpretations of the meaning and history of marriage. And we have included works by William Yang, Abdul Abdulla, Jeffrey Samuels and others to again deepen the layered narrative.”

With images filling an entire wall, a ‘wedding album’ unfolds 140 years of marriage ceremonies and celebrations to express our transformative journey as a society. Highlights from the exhibition, which runs until 16 June 2019, can be viewed on the State Archives web site.

Penrith Regional Gallery Director Sheona White said hosting the exhibition was the first partnership undertaken by the Gallery with NSW State Archives and it would be the first of many more.

“It’s exciting to launch such an ambitious exhibition, particularly one exploring a theme central to the lives of so many,” Ms White said.

Marriage: Love + Law

30 March to 16 June 2019

The Gallery is open daily from 9am – 5pm.

Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest, 86 River Road, Emu Plains.

Abdul Abdullah, Bride 1 (Victoria), 2015, c type-print
Freya Jobbins, PARTY 1 & PARTY 2, 2019, plastic assemblage
Mark Tweedie, A cautionary tale (Bride 2) 2018, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist
W. Nicholas, Hannah Tompson, 1839, watercolour. Courtesy of State Library of New South Wales
Blak Douglas, Scarred for Life (still image), 2019, 4K digital video
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