Newcastle Art Gallery ready to rock with rare images of music royalty

06 Nov 2020

Music lovers will be given a backstage pass to some of the biggest bands and gigs in the world when Newcastle Art Gallery showcases rarely seen and previously unreleased photographs of Australian and international musicians. 

At a time when COVID-19 restrictions have seriously curtailed the slew of gigs usually packed into our summer music schedules, the Gallery is thrusting visitors into the thick of the action with its upcoming exhibition, WE CAN BE HEROES: a backstage pass. 

From homegrown local musicians to international superstars, the exhibition showcases major acts from the 70s through to the contemporary heroes of today, including everyone from The Beatles, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, to Dave Grohl, Gang of Youths, Midnight Oil and Silverchair. 

The images will also take audiences into the epicentre of festivals such as Austin City Limits, Big Day Out, and Lollapalooza, featuring the work of leading Australian music photographers including Charlie Hardy and Luke Kellett, who are both based in Newcastle, as well as Sydneysiders Maclay Heriot and Sophie Howarth. 

The exhibition will also be supported with works of art drawn from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the exhibition offered a window into the excitement and energy of live music. 

“At a time when COVID-19 restrictions have changed the way we experience live music, this exhibition is a wonderful reminder of the joy of going to a gig and the memories that musicians create for their fans,” Cr Nelmes said. 

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said the exhibition also showcased the amazing talents of the photographers who help preserve these moments in history. 

“This major summer exhibition celebrates not only the connection and relationship between the photographer and their subject, it also showcases their incredible artistic talent in capturing unforgettable moments through rarely seen touring photos, unreleased press images and views from the stage that very few of us get to experience.” 

Leading up to the exhibition, Newcastle Art Gallery put a call-out to Newcastle music fans to submit digital copies of posters from their favourite local gigs, with a selection to be included in the Gallery’s interactive smart space. 

WE CAN BE HEROES: a backstage pass will run from 14 November 2020 – 14 February 2021 at the Newcastle Art Gallery. 

Musicians featured in the exhibition:  

Angus and Julia Stone, Baker Boy, Boy and Bear, Dave Grohl, David Bowie, Delta Riggs, DMA's, Dr G Yunupingu, Flight to Dubai, Gang of Youths, Garbage, Grinspoon, Iggy Pop, Kira Puru, Kwame, Midnight Oil, Mo’Ju (formerly known as Mojo Juju), Nick Cave, Paul Dempsey, PJ Harvey, Powderfinger, Saltwater Band, San Cisco, Silverchair, Skeggs, The Beatles, The Jungle Giants, The Preatures, The Prodigy, Violent Soho, You Am I, plus more.