Exhibition Open from 5 March 2021

The NFSA celebrates Mervyn Bishop, one of Australia's most prolific and influential photographers, with a new exhibition opening in Canberra on 5 March.

Where: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, McCoy Circuit, Acton ACT

When: Friday 5 March to Monday 4 October 2021; 10am to 4pm, Monday to Sunday

Pre-book online and save up to 25%: $10 adult / $7.50 concession and Friends of the NFSA / $9 groups / FREE for under 18s. Note: online booking fee applies

Tickets at the door: $13 adult / $10 concession and Friends of the NFSA / $9 groups / $5 uni students (with student card) / FREE for under 18s


Mervyn Bishop Exhibition – Events Program

Join us for a series of events as part of Mervyn Bishop: The Exhibition.

More events announced soon.


Past events

Warwick Thornton Retrospective:

Samson and Delilah + short film Tnorala - 18 June, 6pm

Sweet Country + short film Black Chook - 19 June, 2pm

Slide night with Uncle Mervyn Bishop - 28 May, 7pm

International Museum Day (day entry) - 18 May, 10am to 4pm

International Museum Day (evening entry) - 18 May, 4pm to 7pm

Intimate Icons: Celebrating Mervyn Bishop (workshop) - 29 April to 26 June - THIS WORKSHOP IS SOLD OUT

Floor talk with Mervyn Bishop - 5 March, 12pm - THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

About Mervyn Bishop

Mervyn Bishop was born in 1945 in the New South Wales country town of Brewarrina. His love for photography stems from a chance encounter with its development process, when a schoolfriend’s father showed him how an image could appear, as if by magic, on a sheet of paper in a home darkroom.

In this excerpt from Art + Soul Episode 3: Bitter and Sweet, Mervyn talks to Hetti Perkins about his most famous photograph – Prime Minister Gough Whitlam symbolically pouring sand into the hand of traditional landowner Vincent Lingiari in 1975:

In 1963 Mervyn moved to Sydney and began his four-year career as a cadet photographer with The Sydney Morning Herald:

The exhibition also features images from Mervyn’s time as staff photographer for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (from 1974) and his photographs of influential Australian figures like Lowitja O’Donoghue, Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), Lionel Rose and Jimmy Little.

About the exhibition

This exhibition is drawn from the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) collection, the artist’s private archive, and enriched by sound and moving image from the NFSA.

Spanning the past 60 years, Mervyn Bishop: The Exhibition provides a fascinating insight into his life and work.

An Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition, presented in collaboration with the NFSA.


Top image:

Cousins, Ralph and Jim, Brewarrina 1966 © Mervyn Bishop
Gelatin silver photograph, 30 x 40 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 2008
Photo: AGNSW