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A new exhibition celebrates an extraordinary creative community in Sydney during the 70s and 80s
Last train to Coney Island, Peter Kingston, 2015. © Peter Kingston.

SYDNEY.- The spectacular sweeping views from Sydney’s Lavender Bay have inspired generations of artists but none more influential than the bohemian community drawn to the bay during the 70s and 80s.

On view at the Museum of Sydney, Bohemian Harbour – artists of Lavender Bay exhibition focuses on the harbourside haven which became the home and inspiration to some of Sydney’s leading artists including Brett Whiteley and his neighbours, Peter Kingston, Tom Carment, Philip Cox, Joel Elenberg, Robert Jacks, Rollin Schlicht, Garry Shead and Tim Storrier.

The exhibition brings together paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and experimental film produced during the formative Lavender Bay period, including a number of rarely seen artworks by Brett Whiteley from private collections. Insightful interviews with the artists, whose relationships and connections made Lavender Bay such an extraordinary hub of creativity, illustrate the social and artistic energy that flourished and drew people to the area.

Through artists’ eyes, we can see the transformation of the Lavender Bay waterfront from a natural wilderness to working industrial harbour to a scenic harbourside enclave. The exhibition includes artworks from artists who painted during the 19th and 20th century.

“It is fascinating to see works from an extraordinary group of artists who are all responding to a specific time in a specific place,” said Mark Goggin, Executive Director, Sydney Living Museums.

“The imagery, colours and aesthetic developed by these artists help inform how we think about and view our harbour city today.”

The exhibition also recognises the continuing efforts by resident artists Wendy Whiteley and Peter Kingston to preserve the area’s rich heritage.

The significance of Lavender Bay to the history of Australian art was recently recognised by the NSW Government which granted heritage status to the Whiteleys’ house, its views of Sydney Harbour, which inspired so many of Brett’s paintings, and Wendy Whiteley’s remarkable Secret Garden.

Bohemian Harbour – artists of Lavender Bay continues the series of exhibitions developed by Sydney Living Museums celebrating Sydney artists and sharing their stories and artistic connection to this city.

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