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Vale Nigel Lendon

Our great friend, colleague and supporter of the Drill Hall Gallery, Nigel Lendon, passed away on the October 24, peacefully and at home. Nigel was diagnosed with a brain tumour and, after surgery, rallied with astonishing energy, humour and dedication. The current exhibition at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, I weave what I have seen: War Rugs of Afghanistan, was Nigel’s last project, co-curated with Tim Bonyhady and assisted in every way by his partner Pam McGrath. Nigel threw himself into this project with amazing enthusiasm and stamina. Any and every speaking commitment, press call, accompanied visit by friends and acquaintances from out of town – he found time and energy for all of these and gave of himself unstintingly.

Nigel was an artist who, famously, participated in the exhibition The Field in 1968 at the National Gallery of Victoria. Subsequently he was conspicuous among the avant-garde of the 1970’s, with landmark installations at Watters Gallery in Sydney, and he was drawn to political activism within the art world at the time. He was engaged by Sydney College of the Arts soon after it was established in 1974. He came to the Canberra School of Art in 1988 as Deputy Director and HDR Convenor until 2012. After retiring, Nigel rekindled his ambitions as a sculptor and worked prolifically, with exhibitions held at Milani Gallery in Brisbane and at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery. In recent years Nigel produced works in collaboration with Emma Beer whose great talent he recognised from the time that she was a student at the ANU School of Art.

To Nigel’s partner Pam McGrath, his son Axel and all his relatives and friends, we acknowledge a great loss to the world.

Top image: Pam McGrath and Nigel Lendon at I weave what I have seen: War Rugs of Afghanistan, 2021. Photo: Rob Little.

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.