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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Creating Canberra’s biggest living artwork

Canberra Museum and Gallery’s (CMAG) latest exhibition saw them collaborate with Australian Parliament House (APH) and the National Archives as a way of chronicling the building’s construction to celebrate its 30th birthday this year.

Crafting the house on the hill: art, design and the building of Australian Parliament House provides an insight into the gargantuan effort that went into creating APH and looks at the controversy that surrounded it at the time; something it’s been unable to shrug off to this day.

Its design and construction is also evaluated from a plentitude of perspectives; with photos of the timber mills around the country that provided materials right through to a collage of clipped news articles, including one on the controversy surrounding a pie shortage for builders during construction.

CMAG director Shane Breynard said he was delighted to host the exhibition.

“Both the project itself, of construction of Parliament House and the continued living and working presence of the building in our landscape, have had a tremendously positive impact for our city and our region.”

Exhibition ambassador Annabel Crabb said Crafting the house had some treasures throughout the collection.

“There’s a lot of the Parliament House collection in circulation, but there are these little jewels I’ve never seen before.

“The more I learn about the way Parliament House was constructed and the decisions that were taken to incorporate art and design into the building itself and to ensure all of those artistic commissions told you something about Australia … it really blows me away.

“I’m in awe of the level of thoughtfulness that went into the building … it’s this amazing, living artwork.”

Having worked in the building herself, Crabb said she would take great pleasure in walking through the halls enjoying the art.

“I think the decision to commission a body of works by living Australian artists has given the building this incredible pulse … it’s given me a lifelong love of Australian art.”

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