Never before seen artworks by late Australian entertainer Barry Humphries AO CBE will be on display at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre Galleries from this weekend, celebrating the artistic talents of Humphries.
The visual art works and paraphernalia include Humphries’ self-portraits, iconic South Australian landscapes such as the Murray River, Clare Valley and Strathalbyn, and portraits of his dear friend and renowned South Australian artist David Dridan OAM.
The exhibition titled By Barry Humphries: From the David Dridan Family Collection will feature portraits and landscapes created by Barry Humphries from the private collection of South Australian artist David Dridan.
Humphries and Dridan shared a love of painting landscapes and regularly painted together in Dridan’s Adelaide studios. Over their 67-year friendship, Humphries painted 17 portraits of Dridan. Dridan has had numerous exhibitions in his own right, and his works are held by National Gallery of Australia and Art Gallery of South Australia.
Humphries had a long association with Adelaide Festival Centre in particular a special relationship with Her Majesty’s Theatre which commenced in 1953 when a then 19-year-old Humphries performed in The Wind of Heaven as part of the Australian Universities Drama Festival. That performance heralded a long association with The Maj, with Humphries, often describing it as his favourite theatre. Barry Humphries was also Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2015.
David Dridan OAM: “This collection of artworks and supporting paraphernalia represents 67 years of friendship, family gatherings and some very amusing moments. It is with great joy that we the Dridan family, provide this collection of works to be displayed for the pleasure of all and to remember the varied extent of creativeness that was, Barry Humphries.”
Adelaide Festival Centre Performing Arts Collection Coordinator, Helen Trepa: “Not only did Barry Humphries love performing in Adelaide, but he also loved painting here with his friend, fellow artist, mentor, and sitter South Australian landscape painter David Dridan.
“Come and see how Humphries painted himself, Dridan and the Adelaide countryside in his distinct signature style and sense of humour. We would especially love to thank David and Sarah Dridan and their wonderful family for working with Adelaide Festival Centre to make this very special exhibition happen. It’s like peeking behind the Hollywood curtain of his mind to see the personal side of Barry Humphries the artist. Vale Barry Humphries.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 17 November until Saturday 13 April 2024. Open to view Thursdays and Saturdays 10am – 3pm and during Festival Theatre performance times.