Tapestries by artist

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Great Hall Tapestry

Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) is considered one of Australia's most distinguished 20th-century artists. He came from the Boyd dynasty of painters, sculptors, ceramicists and architects, and was part of the Angry Penguins school in the 1940s and later the Antipodeans which included John Perceval and Charles Blackman. Boyd represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1958 and again in 2000. In 1979 he was awarded an Order of Australia, augmented by a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1992. In 1993 he bequeathed his Bundanon property in Shoalhaven, New South Wales to the people of Australia, as a repository of thousands of his artworks and a site for ongoing artist residencies.

The design of the new Parliament House in Canberra was won by architect Romaldo Giurgola in 1979, and created the opportunity for the commission of a major public artwork. As an eminent living artist Arthur Boyd was offered the chance to produce an artwork that would cover almost the entire south wall of the Reception Hall. Extensive discussions ensued about the best medium to suit this scale, and tapestry was decided on as the ideal choice.

The massive scale of the work - an astonishing nine meters in height and almost twenty meters in width - makes it the second largest tapestry in the world. It was woven in vertical sections by 12 weavers over a two-year period, and remains the most ambitious tapestry the Workshop has ever produced.

The image represents a forest of towering eucalypt trees from the grounds of Boyd's rural retreat and studio at Bundanon. The tree-scape is quintessentially Australian, a homage to the majesty of the bush. Strong vertical rhythms structure the work, and the life-like proportions of the trees recreate the enveloping feel of a forest setting, fulfilling the architect's brief that the entire wall would almost appear as a three dimentional living landscape.

Collection of Parliament House, Canberra