Bunyips, banksias, and picnics of doom: classic Australian myths reimagined for a new age

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Deleted scene) – Beatrice Alemagna

If you ever wondered what bunyips, banksias, and picnics of doom are all about, then you might want to ask our friends in Australia.

Or you could learn more about these classic Australian myths at a new exhibition at The All Story gallery next month, featuring over thirty local and international artists reimagining the old stories and characters.

Entitled Southerns, some artists in the group show celebrate the cultural impact of films such as Mad Max and television shows such as Round The Twist, others reflect on changing social views with modern readings of the work of May Gibbs and other canonised authors.

Four international artists, Beatrice Alemanga, John Broadley, Dana Sherwood, and Antoine Cossé have all produced radically different takes on Picnic at Hanging Rock – showing the wide-reaching and long-lasting influence of the film. Local artist Mandy Ord has inserted herself into the world of her childhood favourite book, The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek, while Tom Gerrard has immortalised Eric Bana’s beloved comic character Poida.

"Southerns is a way of understanding what our myths and storytelling say about us. Australian stories often feature monsters and haunted landscapes, but there are just as many heroic misfits, larrikins, and places of wonder. Horror and comedy are common threads and they’re frequently woven together to the point that it’s hard to tell them apart," says Heath Killen, curator and director of The All Story.

"One of the major themes that has emerged through this show is 'memory', the lasting impact that certain works have on us and how that memory changes through time. Our hope is that people will come to this show because it features stories that they’re familiar with and stories that they love, but that they come away with new perspectives on them."

Southerns at The All Story in Newcastle, Australia, opens on 7 June and runs until 30 June 2019.

We might be the only living creatures in the whole world – John Broadly

We might be the only living creatures in the whole world – John Broadly

The Forest of the Dropbear – Andrea Innocent

The Forest of the Dropbear – Andrea Innocent

Alfred, alarmed, in sandwich – Carla McRae

Alfred, alarmed, in sandwich – Carla McRae