The National Gallery Will host Performance Celebrating the Architecture of Colin Madigan

The performance is on Saturday 24 February.

By: Feb. 16, 2024
The National Gallery Will host Performance Celebrating the Architecture of Colin Madigan
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This February, the National Gallery of Australia will premiere a new commission by artist Rochelle Haley – A Sun Dance – in an exclusive performance.

Performing the piece live in Kamberri/Canberra on Saturday 24 February, five dancers and a musician will bring this choreographic artwork to life across the National Gallery. The ensemble invites the audience to join them on their journey.

Commissioned by the National Gallery, A Sun Dance explores the interplay between the Gallery’s geometric architecture and the way sunlight enters the building over the course of the day.

The choreography reflects the sensation of sunlight on skin and moves in tandem with the sun’s arc from east to west across the Earth. Haley developed the work in response to the archive of the Gallery’s architect, Colin Madigan, as well as her own observations of the architecture that she made during numerous site visits to the National Gallery.

Deirdre Cannon, Assistant Curator, Australian Art says that ‘Haley has realised an ambitious performance that uses the whole of the National Gallery as its stage. A Sun Dance reflects Haley’s unique approach to choreography, and how performance artworks can refract and change dynamically through time and space, like sunlight itself.’

‘Audiences will discover the work in different ways as it cycles across and through the building throughout the day. It’s a new way of experiencing dance in a museum context. Visitors are welcome to come and see it in passing, or to spend longer with the work as it moves into different galleries, in and out of the path of the sun,’ said Cannon.

Alongside the presentation of A Sun Dance, Haley will deliver an artist talk with National Gallery Archivist Simon Underschultz. In this talk, Haley will share her watercolour paintings created as part of the performance development process as well Madigan’s original papers and architectural designs which inspired her work. Haley will also appear in a panel discussion exploring the choreographic process and approaches to conserving performance artworks with her choreographer collaborators, Angela Goh and Ivey Wawn, and Louise Lawson, Head of Conservation at Tate Museum, United Kingdom.

A Sun Dance is a free performance only at the National Gallery in Kamberri/Canberra on 24 February 2024 from 10am – 5pm.

Commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia 2023. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body. With additional support from the Australian Research Council through research and commissioning partner Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, a research project hosted by University of New South Wales, with Art Gallery of New South Wales, Monash University Museum of Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and Tate.

The original National Gallery building was designed by Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Partners.


Artist: Rochelle Haley
Choreographers: Angela Goh, Ivey Wawn
Dancers: Angela Goh, David Huggins, Lizzie Thomson, Niki Verrall, Ivey Wawn
Composer & Musician: Megan Alice Clune
Costume: Leah Giblin
Curators: Elspeth Pitt and Deirdre Cannon. Produced by Saskia Scott.