Artist Garry Shead and Dr Luke Johnson

Poetry-art exhibition with works by Garry Shead

Poetry-art exhibition with works by Garry Shead

Innovative exhibition melds works of D.H. Lawrence, Garry Shead with responses by UOW lecturer Luke Johnson

Kangaroo Unbound is a collaborative poetry-art exhibition featuring paintings, etching and collagraphs by legendary Australian artist Garry Shead and poems written in response to these works by University of Wollongong (UOW) Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Dr Luke Johnson.

The exhibition coincides with a generous donation by Shead to the UOW Art Collection and is being further supported with major works on loan from Wollongong Art Gallery and the artist’s private collection.

The concept for the project began 100 years ago with the publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Kangaroo, a novel he wrote during his famed 1922 voyage to the Illawarra with wife Frieda Lawrence. The novel served as the inspiration behind a now iconic series of paintings produced by Shead in the 1990s. It was this series that consolidated Shead’s national and international reputation as a major Australian artist.

Dr Johnson said, “I love the mythical dimension of Garry’s works. He’s an artist interested in the sorts of ideas that usually only hold currency amongst the deeply religious – redemption, salvation, eternity and the divine – but which filtered through his antipodean sensibility really spark my imagination.”

Following an invitation from Wollongong Art Gallery in 2019, Dr Johnson began working on a set of poems in response to the complete ‘D.H. Lawrence’ series of painting produced by Shead. Several of the poems have been published as standalone works in literary journals and read aloud alongside the paintings in situ.

The Kangaroo Unbound exhibition will showcase more than 20 of the poems along with the works that inspired them. Under the curatorial guidance of UOW Visual Arts Lecturer Teo Treloar, and Jo Stirling, Lecturer in Communication Design, the poems have been prepared for presentation in the gallery setting.

The exhibition will be officially opened on Tuesday 19 September, from 4pm-6pm. Shead and Dr Johnson will launch the exhibition with speeches.

Local historian and D.H. Lawrence scholar Dr Joseph Davis will give a public lecture on the author’s time in Thirroul in the gallery from 1.30pm–2pm on Tuesday 12 September. Many people will know Dr Davis from his popular public lectures at Wollongong Art Gallery.



Where: The School of the Arts, English and Media Gallery in Building 25

When: 10.30am – 2.30pm, 11–29 September


Opening event with Garry Shead and Dr Luke Johnson

Tuesday 19 September, 4pm–6pm.

Registrations here.


Public lecture with Dr Joseph Davis

Tuesday 12 September, 1.30pm–2pm