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John Edwards: A Bushranging Tale

Narratives surrounding convict and bushranger images are integral to our Australian psyche.

John Edwards has been shortlisted 3 times for the AGNSW’s Archibald Prize, 3 times in the Sir John Sulman Prize, 4 times in the S.H. Ervin Galleries, Salon de refusés, twice in the Kilgour Art prize, 3 times in the Blake Prize, and most recently John is a finalist in the 2018 NSW Parliament Plein Air Art Prize, and 2018 Grace Cossington Smith Art Award.

“My current body of work, Captain Thunderbolt and the travails of Australian bushrangers, evolved from looking at Sidney Nolan’s Kelly paintings with their brilliant colour and modernist depiction of home-made armour hammered out of ploughs. Kelly’s masked dressing has something of the spirit and grit of an Australian ethos of ‘making do’.

Narratives surrounding convict and bushranger images are integral to our Australian psyche with figures such as Ned Kelly, Captain Thunderbolt and Jack Doolan thriving in the imagination.

Bush ballads are penned and images painted about such figures famed for stealing, philandering, ‘mateyness’ and murder. Despite such waywardness, they attract enormous sympathy and public intrigue, in part because of skill and stealth in evading the law.

Less is known about their feisty, gun-toting partners.

One such woman was the Indigenous Mary-Ann Bugg, also known as ‘Black Mary’. She was Thunderbolt’s, “the gentleman bushranger”‘s second wife.”

John Edwards work is represented in many public collections including: Artbank, Australia; The Australian Embassy, China; The University of Wollongong, NSW; Sydney West International College, NSW; The Children’s Hospital, Westmead, NSW; University of Technology, Sydney; Symnans Saker Elliot and Hickman collection, New Zealand; and The University of Sydney, NSW.



Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am to 5pm

Saturday 6 October to Sunday 28 October 2018


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