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Art Gallery of Western Australia: 'Unknown Land' Mapping and Imagining WA Exhibition image 1
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Art Gallery of Western Australia: 'Unknown Land' Mapping and Imagining WA Exhibition

See WA before it was WA, experience WA through the eyes of the first European explorers and colonists.

The first European explorers and settlers viewed Western Australia and its spectacular coast as an “Unknown Land”. Of course, it was no such thing – Aboriginal people had owned the land for thousands of years and were quickly in conflict with the imperialists.

Whatever their motives – colonist, invader, explorer, settler, adventurer – the Europeans were awe-struck by the land we now call Western Australia – and the opportunities it presented them. This exhibition of the earliest watercolours, paintings and drawings of “WA” superbly captures images of iconic locations still familiar, but now mostly transformed. These artists were the first of many generations to be inspired by the landscape of WA. The visions are stunning. But the real story, as revealed in the exhibition -– which includes key Aboriginal works – was much more complex.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia, founded in 1895, occupies a precinct of three heritage buildings on the south-eastern corner of the Perth Cultural Centre. The Gallery houses the State Art Collection, which includes one of the world’s finest collections of Indigenous art, the pre-eminent collection of Western Australian art and design, as well as Australian and International art and design.

Make your way to the Art Gallery of Western Australia and take your time viewing this absorbing exhibition. The exhibition is located on the Special Exhibitions floor of the Gallery, found on level 2. We recommend you allow at least one hour to view the exhibition. You can also view the permanent State Art Collection displays while at the Gallery. 
Stay on for lunch at Arthouse Dine and ensure you browse the Gallery Shop after enjoying the exhibition. 

You can also join a guided tour at 2pm, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.