Sally Dunbar – Classic Canberra

Mixed media picture of Parliament House Canberra by artist Sally Dunbar

Humble House Gallery
93 Wollongong Street Fyshwick ACT
Until 5 December 2021
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

If we were to write a love song to Canberra, it would look like this – an original and quirky pop song full of love, colour, life and humour.

Sally Dunbar, who was an ANU art school graduate in printmaking and mixed media and who works as a primary school art teacher, has used collage, paint and marker pen to depict the glorious everyday of Canberra.

Barbie visited Humble House Gallery to talk to Sally Dunbar about Classic Canberra

Her work is highly visually appealing, much of it large scale, with background layers of patterned paper, the foregrounds of familiar places, people and animals painted and drawn in keenly observed detail. She shows a well-developed command of shape and space.

The artist knows and likes Canberra as a place where people live, work and play, where we see and hear a great deal of birdlife and where monumental or recognisable natural features, buildings and structures dominate the view.

Sally’s affectionate eye often sees the humorous, but she is not carpingly critical. The patterns of life in this city are here – the very serious cyclist, the (perhaps COVID inspired) dog walker, the quiet picnics by the lake, frolicking summer days at Civic Pool.

She elevates the everyday to a joyous experience of colour and bustling activity. Her cows sit on gingham checks, her birds fly against swirls and cubes, sit against landscapes of bright yellow squiggles or dark definite lines of brown.

Canberrans will immediately know their city from Sally Dunbar’s work. Everything is familiar and so much the real foundations of our society here – set apart from the official purpose of the national capital. Visitors to Canberra would benefit from seeing this vision of a much-loved place to live, its vibrancy, its sense of community.

This collection is cleverly conceived and executed. The artist insists we look, and skilfully induces smiles of recognition and affection in the viewer. Classic Canberra is a place of both change and tradition, of movement and stillness, of quiet beauty and busy life. How well Sally Dunbar tells it!

All work is for sale.