Public lectures to delve into Australia’s unique modern art history

21 AUGUST 2019

Public lectures to delve into Australia’s unique modern art history

Charles Sturt senior lecturer to conduct public lectures on country's art history in Wagga Wagga.

  • Charles Sturt expert in art history and visual culture Dr Sam Bowker to host series of public lectures on history of Australian modern art
  • Titles are derived from popular culture and cover from 1945 to 2020
  • Supported by the Friends of the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

Australia’s art history is not confined within the walls of the country’s public galleries, according to a senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) in Wagga Wagga.

Dr Sam Bowker is a senior lecturer in art history and visual culture in the Charles Sturt School of Communication and Creative Industries.

He said the country’s art history can even be found in the most unexpected places, including within the pages of a popular Women's Weekly cook book.

Dr Bowker said objects, such as this cook book, that connect us to creative experiences and has a place in Australian culture can also be explored as part of the country’s artistic history.

“It’s not just things in galleries but things that are important in our lives, the full scope of our creative endeavours,” Dr Bowker said.

This is the notion that Dr Bowker will explore in a series of art history public lectures to be held monthly at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery.

Their titles are tributes to popular culture, such as 'Modern Evil, Angry Penguins' in reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and ‘I am, You are’ in reference to the popular song I am Australian.

Dr Bowker said craft or art forms that have influenced this nation’s culture are as much part of Australia’s art history as paintings and sculptures in galleries.

The series of four lectures will explore two decades each, covering from 1945 until 2020.

“I think a series on Australian art was overdue,” Dr Bowker said.

“We need to respond to where we are, which is what research at Charles Sturt seeks to do."

Dr Bowker said contemporary art is a reflection of where we are now and can be used in a variety of ways, including in protests or to document human life.

Exploring the country’s art history will expand on ideas about the past, according to Dr Bowker.

The public lectures will be held on the third Thursday of each month – Thursday 22 August, Thursday 26 September, Thursday 24 October, and Thursday 28 November.

The lectures are:

  • Modern Evil, Angry Penguins (1945  1960s)
  • Out Standing in the Field (1960s  1980s)
  • Postmodern Paradise (1980s  2000s)
  • I am, You are (2000  2020) 

Tickets are available from the Eventbrite website and proceeds support the Friends of the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery.

Each of the sessions will be held in the E3 art space under the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, corner of Morrow and Baylis Streets, Wagga Wagga, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Sam Bowker, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or

Photo caption: Doctor Sam Bowker at an earlier lecture series. Picture by Luke Grealy 

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